*Some of these provisions shall be changed when Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, comes into force.
The Criminal Code of Canada was first enacted in 1892. Nearly every sitting parliament since then has tweaked or amended the Code in some fashion. Most parliaments whether for political purposes, inertia or simple lack of attention to detail have failed to fully revamp the Code into a modern document. Given the hodgepodge of legislative action, there are still a number of outdated and downright bizarre provisions of the Code lurking in amongst its legitimate provisions.
Theft Of Oysters
Section, 323(1) specifically describes what constitutes valid ownership of an oyster bed, so that nefarious pearl poachers can’t plead ignorance on their villainous deeds.
Alarming The Queen
Alarming her majesty is a criminal offence courtesy of s. 49 of the Criminal Code. Considering how rarely Elizabeth II comes to Canada, this crime sure is severely punishable. By alarming our sovereign, you could face up to fourteen years imprisonment!
Pretending To Practise Witchcraft
For an exceptionally Medieval offence look no further than section 365 of the Code, which makes it a crime to fraudulently practise witchcraft. Presumably real witches are exempt from prosecution.
Section 71 makes it illegal to challenge, accept or provoke a duel. As murder and assault are already included in the Code, the need for a specific duelling offence is perplexing.
“Thank goodness the Criminal Code makes it illegal to publish Batman’s stories.”
-The Joker, 2019
Per section 163(1)(b) it is illegal to distribute a “Crime Comic”, which helpfully is defined under section 163(7) as:
(7) In this section, crime comic means a magazine, periodical or book that exclusively or substantially comprises matter depicting pictorially
(a) the commission of crimes, real or fictitious; or
(b) events connected with the commission of crimes, real or fictitious, whether occurring before or after the commission of the crime.
Surely the supervillains of our time rejoice at their anonymity. Perhaps this section is why Wolverine, having migrated south is Canada’s only famous hero. All of our other caped crusaders remained in Canada and obeyed the law and halted the publishing of their exploits.
As a child, did you really want to poke the centre out of a toonie? Well per section 456, this wanton act would mare you with a criminal record if caught.
Being charged with a crime is a serious event, even if occasionally the legislation is a bit outdated. If you have been charged with any crime, outdated or not, contact Mehdi Au LLP to speak to an experienced Defence Lawyer. Legal Aid Certificates will be accepted.
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