Changes to Canadian Laws for House Arrest and Self-Defence

Due to the progressive nature of the economy, laws tend to change for it to adapt to the people’s best interests. More than that, its rules must uphold and reflect the values of a society in the present time, which is why laws are regularly updated. In this case, we’re focusing on the recent changes made regarding house arrest and self-defence. 

Self-Defense or Defense of Property Provisions

For many years, Canadian laws regarding self-defence often fall in a grey area. For that reason, many citizens believe that they have no right to defend themselves, no matter the circumstances. Unfortunately, even legal professionals have found defending self-defence cases a tricky ordeal as it poses several different and complex sections that are challenging to put into practice. 

Laws, however, are made for the benefit of the people. In that regard, the Canadian Criminal Code regarding self-defence was repealed and replaced last 2012 with two new sections: one that caters to situations where a person must defend themselves or others, while the other applies to the defence of property. It takes into account the following factors:

  • The nature of the threat to the individual in question
  • What (if any) weapons were involved
  • The difference in size, age, gender, physical abilities, or notable disabilities between the two parties
  • The history, relationship, or background between the two parties
  • The reasoning behind the use of force, and if there are any other options available to mitigate assault.

For the defence of property, it seems to be the one area where force is justified as the law under Section 40 of the Criminal Code states that any power you deem necessary to remove the burglar from the house may be implemented. This means that if the person in question uses a significant amount of force to the person who forced illegal entry, however, problems may arise for those who claim to be assaulted in the midst of a retreat. 

Pure self-defence, on the other hand, is relatively more challenging to tackle. The judge’s decision on whether or not the force is justified depends on the situation. For instance, if the person in question is pushed in a position wherein if he or she does not act in defence, they will either be hurt or killed, it is considered a reasonable case. 

House Arrest Provisions

Implemented in 1996, house arrest under Canadian law was issued to address the potential issues that could strain the corrections system of the government. Generally, house arrest is only offered to offenders who are deemed to have little threat to the community, considering they fulfil five conditions under Section 718 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The requirements are:

  • The offender must deter unlawful conduct
  • The sentence will deter the offender from committing more crimes
  • The penalty will rehabilitate the offender
  • The sentence will provide reparations to the victims of the offender’s crimes
  • The offence must promote responsible and accountable actions

Take not that house arrest cannot be issued to punishments that require a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years or more.

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