section 68

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section makes it an indictable offence to oppose, hinder, or assault anyone who is making a proclamation under section 67, or to fail to disperse from the location within 30 minutes of the proclamation being made.

SECTION WORDING

68. Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life who (a) opposes, hinders or assaults, wilfully and with force, a person who begins to make or is about to begin to make or is making the proclamation referred to in section 67 so that it is not made; (b) does not peaceably disperse and depart from a place where the proclamation referred to in section 67 is made within thirty minutes after it is made; or (c) does not depart from a place within thirty minutes when he has reasonable grounds to believe that the proclamation referred to in section 67 would have been made in that place if some person had not opposed, hindered or assaulted, wilfully and with force, a person who would have made it.

EXPLANATION

Section 68 of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with offenses related to the proclamation of law and order. It essentially provides for the punishment of those who interfere with the process of proclamation or those who refuse to leave after the proclamation has been made. Subsection (a) of the section specifies that anyone who assaults, hinders or opposes a person who is about to begin making the proclamation referred to in section 67 will be guilty of an indictable offence and be liable to life imprisonment. This means that anyone who uses force to prevent the proclamation of law and order will be subject to serious consequences. Subsection (b) refers to the situation where the proclamation has been made, and individuals do not comply with it. Anyone who does not peacefully disperse and depart the said place within thirty minutes of the proclamation being made would also be guilty of an indictable offence and liable to life imprisonment. Subsection (c) handles the situation where individuals refuse to leave a place even if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the proclamation will be made there shortly. Here an individual will be guilty of an offence if they fail to depart within thirty minutes of having those reasonable grounds. In summary, this section seeks to ensure the peaceful proclamation of law and order by punishing those who obstruct, hinder, or refuse to leave once the proclamation has been made. It is vital in maintaining order in society and ensuring that all individuals follow the law.

COMMENTARY

Section 68 of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the criminal offense of obstructing the making of a proclamation under section 67, which refers to the declaration of Martial Law by a governing authority. This section prescribes heavy penalties, including imprisonment for life, for individuals who use force, violence, or threats to prevent the proclamation of Martial Law or refuse to disperse from a location where the proclamation was made. The inclusion of this section in the Criminal Code reflects the importance of Martial Law as a legal instrument to manage emergency situations or threats to national security. Under Martial Law, the military, rather than civilian authorities, assume control and may exercise powers such as the detention or arrest of citizens without trial, curfews, or the prohibition of public gatherings or protests. As such, it is essential that the proclamation of Martial Law is independent of any form of coercion or undue influence. This is why the state regards the obstruction of the proclamation of martial law as an offense worthy of a life sentence. The offense of obstructing the proclamation of Martial Law is divided into three parts. Under section 68(a), it is a criminal offense to assail or prevent by force an individual who is making or about to make a proclamation of Martial Law. This provision aims to deter and penalize those who engage in violent or threatening behavior towards officers responsible for making the proclamation. Similarly, under section 68(b), individuals who refuse to disperse within 30 minutes of the proclamation being made can be charged. This limitation ensures that individuals do not interfere with the enforcement of Martial Law and possibly face the risk of being detained indefinitely. Furthermore, section 68(c) stipulates that individuals suspected of having prevented the proclamation of Martial Law at a particular location must vacate the premises if they have reasonable grounds to conclude that the said proclamation would have occurred had they not interfered. In conclusion, the Criminal Code of Canada Section 68 serves as a powerful deterrent to those who may consider interfering with the proclamation of Martial Law. Given the extraordinary powers that are granted to the military and restrictions on rights and freedoms under Martial Law, the existence of this section recognizes the potential dangers of a disjointed, violent, or uncertain transition into Martial Law. This offence reflects the rule of law by ensuring that any exercise of Martial Law is constitutional, independent, and protects the rights and freedoms of individuals.

STRATEGY

Section 68 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a contentious section that many Canadians believe infringes upon their basic human rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. This section criminalizes activities that prevent people from making or hearing a proclamation referred to in section 67. Given the potential physical and financial consequences of a criminal conviction under section 68, it is essential to consider how to handle situations that may lead to charges under this section of the Criminal Code. The first strategy that can be employed is understanding the language of Section 68. This section outlines three distinct offences that can result in a charge under this section. The offence includes opposing, hindering or assaulting individuals who begin to make, are about to make or are making the proclamation referred to in Section 67 so that it is not made. It also criminalizes individuals who do not peaceably disperse and depart from a place where the proclamation referred to in Section 67 is made within thirty minutes after it is made. Finally, it criminalizes individuals who do not depart from a place within thirty minutes when they have good reason to believe that the proclamation referred to in Section 67 would have been made in that spot if someone had not opposed, hindered or assaulted the individual who would have made it. By understanding these three offences, individuals can ensure that they do not unwittingly engage in activities that could lead to a charge under Section 68. Another important strategy is to stay informed about the situations that could lead to a charge under Section 68. Peaceful assemblies and protests are not prohibited under the law; however, certain acts may be seen as obstructing the individuals either making or hearing the proclamation. For instance, violent protests, blockades, and other activities that affect the freedom of others may lead to a charge under Section 68. To ensure peaceful protests and assemblies that do not attract charges under Section 68, it is essential to understand the law and what constitutes illegal activities in the context of a protest or assembly. It is also important to remember that those charged under Section 68 can still prefer charges under less stringent sections of the Criminal Code in many cases. As such, individuals should consider engaging with knowledgeable legal experts to ensure that they are aware of their legal rights and how to navigate the legal system. Additionally, individuals may want to consider seeking out an experienced lawyer who specializes in criminal law, with specific expertise in navigating charges under Section 68. Finally, education and outreach strategies that promote peaceful dialogue and understanding can be effective in reducing the number of charges laid under Section 68. For instance, participants engaging in peaceful protests may work on educating the public and law enforcement on their rights and responsibilities under the law. Such outreach strategies will encompass many different methods of communication, like social media campaigns, public events, and community engagement initiatives. These strategies can help ensure public order remains unaffected while also facilitating peaceful protests that respect the rights and freedoms of all Canadians. However, the most strategic consideration for avoiding any charges under section 68 is to always chose peaceful language and action, engage the authorities in advance, and secure the necessary permits to demonstrate or protest. As a result, the authorities will be aware of the plans ahead of time, and they will be better prepared to respond appropriately, with respect for your rights and freedoms as citizens. Make your voices heard, and stand up for what you believe in, but always bear in mind the need for peacefulness and society's respect.

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