section 98(1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section of the Criminal Code of Canada criminalizes breaking and entering a place with intent to steal or stealing a firearm, or breaking out after stealing a firearm.

SECTION WORDING

98(1) Every person commits an offence who (a) breaks and enters a place with intent to steal a firearm located in it; (b) breaks and enters a place and steals a firearm located in it; or (c) breaks out of a place after (i) stealing a firearm located in it, or (ii) entering the place with intent to steal a firearm located in it.

EXPLANATION

Section 98(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the criminal offence of breaking and entering a place with the intent to steal a firearm, stealing a firearm from a place, or breaking out of a place after stealing a firearm from it or having entered it with the intention of stealing a firearm. Breaking and entering a place with the intent to steal a firearm is a serious offence that carries severe penalties, given the potential for harm that can result from the theft of a firearm. This offence constitutes a hybrid offence that can be tried either summarily or by indictment. If convicted, an offender could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if the offence was committed with the use of violence or threats of violence. Other factors that influence the severity of the sentence include the value and type of the firearm(s) stolen, the level of planning and sophistication involved in the crime, and the harm caused to the victim(s) or the community as a result of the offence. This offence is meant to deter individuals from unlawfully attempting to steal firearms, given the potential danger they pose to the public. Firearms are considered controlled weapons, and their theft can lead to any number of negative consequences, from the loss of life and property to criminal activity and violence. This section of the Criminal Code of Canada demonstrates the government's commitment to ensuring that those who steal firearms from others are held accountable for their actions and that the dangers posed by this behaviour are not taken lightly.

COMMENTARY

The Criminal Code of Canada outlines laws and regulations related to criminal offenses across the country. Section 98(1) of the Criminal Code specifically deals with the criminal activity of breaking and entering with the intention of stealing a firearm or stealing a firearm located in a place that has already been broken into, as well as breaking out of a place after stealing or intending to steal a firearm. This section of the Code reflects the importance of addressing firearm-related criminal activity and highlights the potential dangers associated with the theft of firearms. The Criminal Code recognizes that firearm theft poses a serious risk to public safety. Firearms have the potential to cause devastating harm when they fall into the hands of those who intend to use them to commit crimes. Therefore, breaking and entering with the intention of stealing a firearm or stealing a firearm that has already been broken into is considered a serious crime. The law aims to deter individuals from engaging in such criminal activity by establishing strict penalties for those who break it. Section 98(1) categorizes these activities as offenses punishable by law, which can include fines, imprisonment, or both. The seriousness of this offense is further emphasized by the fact that it is considered an indictable offense, meaning it is punishable by imprisonment for a term up to life. This classification underlines the potential danger of firearm theft and highlights the potential risks of firearms falling into the wrong hands. The Criminal Code understands that firearm theft is a risk to public safety that should not be taken lightly. Furthermore, Section 98(1) recognizes that breaking out of a place after stealing a firearm or intending to steal one indicates premeditation. Premeditation is an aggravating factor in any criminal offense, as it suggests that the individual had planned to commit the crime beforehand. It also communicates the seriousness of the crime. By breaking out of a place after stealing or intending to steal a firearm, the offender is attempting to evade law enforcement and indicates a desire to use the firearm for illegal purposes. The Criminal Code considers the premeditation aspect of the offense when considering sentencing. In conclusion, Section 98(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential piece of legislation that recognizes the severity of breaking and entering with the intention of stealing firearms and breaking out of a place after stealing or intending to steal a firearm. It communicates that the theft of firearms is a serious offense that poses a significant risk to public safety. The potential harm that firearms can cause when they fall into the wrong hands is why the law considers it a punishable offense. These criminal activities, while not uncommon, should be strongly discouraged through rigorous enforcement and education campaigns. By recognizing the importance of this issue, Canadians can work together to keep their communities safe from firearm-related criminal activity.

STRATEGY

Section 98(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada covers offenses related to breaking and entering a place with the intent to steal a firearm, stealing a firearm, and breaking out of a place after stealing or intending to steal a firearm. Convictions under this section carry significant penalties, including mandatory minimum penalties, and can have serious consequences for an individual's future employment prospects, travel possibilities, and general reputation. Thus, it is essential for defendants to consider some strategic considerations and employ appropriate strategies when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code of Canada. The first strategic consideration is to seek legal representation from an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. Criminal defense lawyers can help defendants navigate the complex legal process and build a compelling defense based on the specific facts of their case. They can also advise defendants on various legal options and potential outcomes, including plea bargaining, sentence mitigation, and acquittal. The second strategic consideration is to carefully review the evidence against them and identify any weaknesses or inconsistencies that can be exploited in court. For example, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had the intent to steal a firearm or had stolen a firearm, as well as that the defendant had broken and entered a place. If the evidence is weak or unreliable, the defendant can argue for acquittal. The third strategic consideration is to explore mitigating factors that can reduce the severity of the offense and the associated penalties. For example, if the defendant had no prior criminal record, had pleaded guilty, or cooperated with law enforcement, they may be able to receive a reduced sentence or avoid mandatory minimum penalties. The fourth strategic consideration is to carefully assess the potential consequences of a conviction and weigh them against the potential benefits of different legal strategies. For example, it may be possible to strike a plea deal with the prosecution to avoid a full trial and reduce the risks of a harsh sentence. The strategies that could be employed to deal with this section of the Criminal Code of Canada include: 1. Constructing a strong defense - Working with a criminal defense lawyer to construct a defense strategy based on the specific facts of the case. This may involve challenging the prosecution's evidence, arguing for statutory or constitutional defenses, or presenting mitigating or exculpatory evidence. 2. Pleading guilty and cooperating with law enforcement - In some cases, defendants may choose to plead guilty and cooperate with law enforcement as part of a plea bargain. This can result in reduced charges, sentence mitigation, or reduced penalties. 3. Seeking sentence mitigation - Even if a defendant is found guilty, they may still be able to seek mitigated sentencing based on factors such as their prior criminal record, mental health status, or other mitigating circumstances. 4. Appealing a conviction - If a conviction is not deemed fair or just, defendants may be able to appeal their conviction and have the case retried in a higher court. In conclusion, those facing charges under section 98(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada need to consider a range of strategic considerations and employ appropriate legal strategies to minimize the risks of a harsh sentence or other negative consequences. A criminal defense lawyer can be of great help in constructing a defense strategy, navigating the legal process, and seeking mitigated sentencing or other legal options.