Jump to Navigation

Obstruction Of Justice And Perjury Lawyer In Toronto

Mississauga, Brampton and Newmarket Obstruction of Justice and Perjury Lawyer

Commonly Asked Questions

  1. What is obstruction of justice?
  2. What is the sentence for obstruction of justice?
  3. What is the offence of tampering with a witness or tampering with a jury?
  4. What is the sentence for tampering with a witness or tampering with a jury?
  5. What is the offence of obstructing a police officer?
  6. What is the sentence for obstructing a police officer?
  7. What is the offence of public mischief by making false statements?
  8. What is the sentence for the offence of making false statements?
  9. What are my Charter rights?
  10. Can the Charter help my defence?
  11. Can I get assistance from Legal Aid Ontario for my case?

Obstructing justice, obstructing a police officer, committing perjury or otherwise interfering with the proper administration of justice are serious criminal offences. A conviction for these types of offences can mean prison time and may have life altering consequences. To properly defend these types of charges, you require the assistance of a knowledgeable and skilled defence lawyer.

I offer my clients more than 35 years of experience practicing criminal law here in Ontario. I understand the law and the legal system, and use the knowledge and skill I have gained over the years to protect my clients' rights.

If your case requires a jury trial, I have the necessary experience, advocacy skills and confidence to convincingly argue your case to the jury.

Call Defence Lawyer Anthony De Marco for a Free Consultation

Contact my Toronto, Ontario, office today to discuss your obstruction of justice or perjury case. I offer a free 30-minute consultation. For your convenience, I offer reasonable payment plans. I also accept Legal Aid in some cases. You can reach me by phone at (416) 651-2299 or toll free at 1-888-399-3164 or by e-mail.

What is the Offence of Obstructing Justice?

Section 139 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides as follows:

  • 139(1) Every one who wilfully attempts in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice in a judicial proceeding,
    1. (a) by indemnifying or agreeing to indemnify a surety, in any way and either in whole or in part, or
    2. (b) where he is a surety, by accepting or agreeing to accept a fee or any form of indemnity whether in whole or in part from or in respect of a person who is released or is to be released from custody,
    3. is guilty of
    4. (c) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
    5. (d) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
  • (2) Every person who intentionally attempts in any manner other than a manner described in subsection (1) to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice is guilty of
    1. (a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years; or
    2. (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
  • (3) Without restricting the generality of subsection (2), every one shall be deemed wilfully to attempt to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice who in a judicial proceeding, existing or proposed,
    1. (a) dissuades or attempts to dissuade a person by threats, bribes or other corrupt means from giving evidence;
    2. (b) influences or attempts to influence by threats, bribes or other corrupt means a person in his conduct as a juror; or
    3. (c) accepts or obtains, agrees to accept or attempts to obtain a bribe or other corrupt consideration to abstain from giving evidence, or to do or to refrain from doing anything as a juror.

The offence of obstructing justice requires a wilful attempt by an accused, in any manner, to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice. The sentence is imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years if proceeded with by Indictment. The offence may also be prosecuted as a summary conviction offence which will reduce the maximum penalty.

In order to commit the offence of obstructing justice set out in Section 139(2), the accused must have the specific intent to obstruct justice. Accordingly, the prosecution must prove that the accused did in fact intend to act in a way tending to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice. A simple error of judgment will not be enough. Accordingly, for example, if the offence is based on an allegation that the accused swore a false Affidavit, the accused may not be convicted if there is a reasonable doubt whether the accused honestly believed the Affidavit to be true. Also, if the allegation is that the accused intended to induce another person to give false evidence, it must be proved that the accused knew that the evidence he was inducing was false evidence.

What is the Offence of Indemnifying a Surety or Accepting a Fee to be a Surety?

It is an offence for an accused to indemnify or agree to indemnify a surety. A surety is a person who obligates himself or herself under a Recognizance of Bail to supervise a person released on bail. It is also an offence for a surety to accept or agree to accept a fee or any other form of indemnity for acting as a surety. A conviction is punishable by a maximum period of 2 years in jail if proceeded with by Indictment. The offence may also be proceeded with by summary conviction. The offence may also be prosecuted as a summary conviction offence which will reduce the maximum penalty.

What is the Offence of Tampering with a Witness or Tampering with a Jury?

The offence of tampering with a witness or tampering with a jury is committed when the accused wilfully attempts to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice, in an existing or proposed judicial proceeding, dissuade a person from being a witness or attempts to dissuade a juror by threats, bribes or other corrupt means. It is also an offence for a witness to accept or attempt to obtain a bribe for not testifying or for a juror to accept or attempt to obtain a bribe to serve as a juror.

What is the Offence of Public Mischief by Making False Allegations?

Section 140 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides as follows:

  • 140 (1) Every one commits public mischief who, with intent to mislead, causes a peace officer to enter on or continue an investigation by
    1. (a) making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed an offence;
    2. (b) doing anything intended to cause some other person to be suspected of having committed an offence that the other person has not committed, or to divert suspicion from himself;
    3. (c) reporting that an offence has been committed when it has not been committed; or
    4. (d) reporting or in any other way making it known or causing it to be made known that he or some other person has died when he or that other person has not died.
  • (2) Every one who commits public mischief
    1. (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
    2. (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

What is the Offence of Misleading a Police Officer?

Section 129 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides as follows:

  • 129 Every one who
    1. (a) resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty or any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer,
    2. (b) omits, without reasonable excuse, to assist a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty in arresting a person or in preserving the peace, after having reasonable notice that he is required to do so, or
    3. (c) resists or wilfully obstructs any person in the lawful execution of a process against lands or goods or in making a lawful distress or seizure,
    4. is guilty of
    5. (d) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
    6. (e) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

An example of the offence of obstructing a police officer by providing false information is where the accused identifies himself or herself with a false name. There must, however, be more than causing a police officer a fleeting or momentary diversion or expenditure of effort to establish this offence. If the accused quickly provides his or her proper name, the offence will not be made out. Recently, the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan in R. v. Alsager, 2016 SKCA 91 stated the following with respect to the required intent to establish this offence:

  • . . . [T]he mens rea aspect of s. 129(a) requires the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (a) the accused knew the individual obstructed was a peace officer or other person listed in s. 129(a) and (b) the accused knew the individual obstructed was in the execution of his or her duty, and (c) the accused either had an intention to obstruct the peace officer or foresaw with certainty or substantial certainty that doing the act in question would obstruct the peace officer. . . The mens rea of wilful obstruction does not include knowledge of the precise aspect of a peace officer's mandate that was engaged at the time of an alleged obstruction.

What is the Offence of Perjury?

Section 131 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides as follows:

  1. 131 (1) Subject to subsection (3), every one commits perjury who, with intent to mislead, makes before a person who is authorized by law to permit it to be made before him a false statement under oath or solemn affirmation, by affidavit, solemn declaration or deposition or orally, knowing that the statement is false.
  2. (1.1) Subject to subsection (3), every person who gives evidence under subsection 46(2) of the Canada Evidence Act, or gives evidence or a statement pursuant to an order made under section 22.2 of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, commits perjury who, with intent to mislead, makes a false statement knowing that it is false, whether or not the false statement was made under oath or solemn affirmation in accordance with subsection (1), so long as the false statement was made in accordance with any formalities required by the law of the place outside Canada in which the person is virtually present or heard.
  3. (2) Subsection (1) applies, whether or not a statement referred to in that subsection is made in a judicial proceeding.
  4. (3) Subsections (1) and (1.1) do not apply to a statement referred to in either of those subsections that is made by a person who is not specially permitted, authorized or required by law to make that statement.

What is the Sentence for Perjury?

Section 132 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides as follows:

  • 132 Every one who commits perjury is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

Pre-Trial Charter Applications

Often, the best defence to a criminal charge involves a challenge to the investigation that resulted in the arrest of the accused or the collection of evidence against the accused. The police are not allowed to breach the rights that are guaranteed to the accused by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I will investigate any possible Charter breaches by carefully reviewing the Crown disclosure documents, including the documents used by the police to obtain search warrants for the home, car or other property of the accused, and the documents used by the police to obtain production orders, such as for cell phone records and wiretap authorizations.

If I detect any violation of the Charter rights of the accused or violation of acceptable investigative procedures established by the courts, I will proceed with an application asking for the exclusion of evidence from the trial of the accused obtained illegally by the police, including the statements of the accused and other evidence seized during the investigation.

I have an established reputation for success in pre-trial applications. Winning a Charter application will result in the exclusion of evidence if the court determines that not excluding the evidence will bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The exclusion of evidence often results in a finding of not guilty if the Crown's remaining evidence is insufficient to prove that the accused committed the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

I have the necessary experience, research skills, writing skills, and advocacy skills to prepare and effectively argue pre-trial Charter applications. The value of legal writing skills cannot be overstated since proceeding with pre-trial Charter applications will require the preparation of several documents including a Notice of Application, an Affidavit, and a Factum setting out the relevant facts and summarizing the relevant case law.

Electing to Have a Preliminary Inquiry

In cases in which a Defendant is exposed to a possible period of 14 years or more in jail, the Defendant will have the right to proceed with a preliminary inquiry in the Ontario Court of Justice and then a trial in the Superior Court of Justice before a court composed of a Judge sitting with a jury or without a jury. In the past, this level of court was referred to as "High Court".

The completion of a preliminary inquiry is not mandatory. The Defendant has the right to waive the preliminary inquiry and to proceed directly to trial in either the Ontario Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice. If the trial is to be completed in the Superior Court of Justice, the waiver of the preliminary inquiry will require the consent of the Crown.

At a preliminary inquiry, the Crown is required to call some evidence upon which a properly instructed jury, acting reasonably, may return a verdict of guilt. This is an easy test for the Crown to meet in the vast majority of cases. Accordingly, it is relatively rare for someone who proceeds with a preliminary inquiry to be discharged with respect to all of the charges which he or she is facing. The real value in having a preliminary inquiry is not in the hope of being entirely discharged, thereby bringing the entire criminal proceedings to an end, but in being able to better prepare the case for trial. The defence lawyer will have an opportunity to cross-examine and test the evidence of the primary Crown witnesses. An experienced and skilled defence lawyer can discover the strengths and weaknesses of the Crown witnesses and commence building an effective defence strategy. A preliminary inquiry is especially valuable for the defence in cases involving young, infirm, unreliable or unsavory Crown witnesses.

Call Defence Lawyer Anthony De Marco for a Free Consultation

Contact my Toronto, Ontario, office today to discuss your obstruction of justice or perjury case. I offer a free 30-minute consultation. For your convenience, I offer reasonable payment plans. I also accept Legal Aid in some cases. You can reach me by phone at (416) 651-2299 or toll free at 1-888-399-3164 or by e-mail.