section 67

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section requires certain officials to disperse riotous assemblies and give a proclamation to disperse, under penalty of imprisonment for life.

SECTION WORDING

67. A person who is (a) a justice, mayor or sheriff, or the lawful deputy of a mayor or sheriff, (b) a warden or deputy warden of a prison, or (c) the institutional head of a penitentiary, as those expressions are defined in subsection 2(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, or that persons deputy, who receives notice that, at any place within the jurisdiction of the person, twelve or more persons are unlawfully and riotously assembled together shall go to that place and, after approaching as near as is safe, if the person is satisfied that a riot is in progress, shall command silence and thereupon make or cause to be made in a loud voice a proclamation in the following words or to the like effect: Her Majesty the Queen charges and commands all persons being assembled immediately to disperse and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful business on the pain of being guilty of an offence for which, on conviction, they may be sentenced to imprisonment for life. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.

EXPLANATION

Section 67 of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the responsibilities of certain officials in the case of an unlawful and riotous assembly of 12 or more individuals within their jurisdiction. The section specifies that individuals such as justices, mayors, sheriffs, warden, or institutional heads who receive notice of such an assembly must go to the location and approach as safely as possible. If the person determines that a riot is in progress, they must command silence and make a proclamation that all persons must immediately disperse and peacefully depart to their homes or lawful business. Failure to comply with this order and disperse can result in being guilty of an offence for which the individual may face imprisonment for life upon conviction. The goal of this section is to maintain law and order in the face of unlawful and potentially dangerous assemblies of people. By placing the responsibility on specific officials, the section provides a clear protocol for dealing with such situations and aims to prevent further escalation of violence or damage to property. Overall, section 67 serves as an important tool for maintaining public safety and upholding the law. It ensures that officials are held accountable for taking swift action in the face of potential danger, and serves as a deterrent for those who may consider participating in such unlawful and riotous activities.

COMMENTARY

Section 67 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that empowers certain officials to maintain public order in situations where a riot is occurring. The provision applies to individuals who have been designated as justices, mayors, sheriffs, deputies, wardens, or institutional heads, as defined under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Any individual falling under these categories who receives notice that twelve or more persons are unlawfully and riotously assembled together within their jurisdiction has the power to approach the site of the riot and disperse the crowd. The provision requires the designated official to approach the site of the riot as closely as possible without compromising their safety. Once they are satisfied that a riot is indeed taking place, they must command silence and make a proclamation in the following words or a similar effect: "Her Majesty the Queen charges and commands all persons being assembled immediately to disperse and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful business on the pain of being guilty of an offence for which, on conviction, they may be sentenced to imprisonment for life. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN." The provision is intended to be used as a tool to maintain public order and prevent violence from escalating. Its aim is to empower officials to disperse crowds that are assembling unlawfully and with the potential to cause significant harm to individuals or property. The provision positions the Crown as a powerful institution that has the capability to regulate and control specific situations. The provision is necessary in certain situations to ensure public safety. The ability to disperse unlawful assemblies serves as a deterrent to individuals who may be considering engaging in unlawful, violent behaviour. The provision empowers officials to take control of the situation by making use of their position and authority and attempting to prevent more serious incidents from occurring. The legal repercussions for individuals who disobey official commands can serve as an effective deterrent. However, the section has also been subject to criticism. Critics argue that it gives officials too much power and undermines the right to assembly and protest. The provision can also be used to suppress dissenting opinions and criticisms, particularly in circumstances where the government or state is perceived to be under threat. Additionally, the language used in the proclamation can be seen as threatening and overly authoritarian. Overall, the effectiveness and appropriateness of Section 67 ultimately depend on how it is used. It is a powerful tool that has the ability to prevent destructive behaviour. Still, its use should be balanced with a consideration for democratic rights and protections, such as the right to assembly. The provision should be utilized only in instances of actual need and with careful consideration for the potential implications of its use.

STRATEGY

Section 67 of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the protocol to be followed in the event of an uncontrolled gathering of 12 or more people who are assembling unlawfully and riotously. As stated in the section, any person who is categorized under the definition of "institutional head" or "mayor" is obligated to intervene in the situation if they receive notice of the event taking place. When dealing with this situation, there are several strategic considerations that must be taken into account. First and foremost, safety is of the utmost importance. Any attempt to disperse the crowd should be made with sufficient police presence and proper protective measures. Another consideration in dealing with such a situation is the need for proper communication. The person in charge should ensure that they are communicating clearly and effectively with the rioters. They should use calm and assertive language to command the attention of the crowd and communicate the severity of the situation. Furthermore, it is important to assess the motivation behind the riotous assembly. The reasons for such events might vary, and understanding the cause may help to tailor a suitable response. For instance, if the gathering is due to social injustices or some other political motive, handling the situation with care and sensitivity may help to prevent further escalation. In employing strategies, it is important to consider the possibility of retaliation from rioters, as well as any potential escalation of hostilities. Strategies should be designed to ensure minimal harm to all parties involved, including bystanders. Some strategies that could be employed include using persuasion techniques, such as requesting individuals in the crowd to disperse peacefully. Public address systems could be used to convey messages to the crowd. Using crowd control measures such as barricades or nets could also help to prevent the spread of violence and limit the ability of rioters to engage in criminal acts. Another potential strategy is to engage with rioters to understand their motivations and address their concerns. This approach may help to de-escalate the situation and stop the rioters from causing any further damage or harm. In conclusion, dealing with an unlawful and riotous assembly is a challenging undertaking that requires careful planning, assessment, and execution. Safety, effective communication, and strategic planning are essential components of any intervention effort regarding Section 67 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

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