Obstructing justice is a criminal offense defined under the Criminal Code. It refers to any deliberate action or conduct that hinders or interferes with the administration of justice or the proper functioning of the legal system. The offense of obstructing justice is taken seriously as it undermines the integrity and fairness of the legal process.
Obstructing justice can take various forms, including but not limited to:
- Obstructing a peace officer: This involves willfully obstructing, hindering, or resisting a police officer or any other person who is lawfully executing their duties.
- Influencing or obstructing a public servant: It is a crime to attempt to influence, obstruct, or impede a public servant, such as a judge, prosecutor, or jury member, in the exercise of their duties.
- Destroying or concealing evidence: Intentionally destroying, altering, or hiding evidence that is relevant to a criminal investigation or legal proceeding is considered obstruction of justice.
- False testimony or perjury: Knowingly providing false testimony or lying under oath in a court proceeding or before a person with the authority to administer an oath is a form of obstructing justice.
- Intimidating or threatening a witness: Engaging in actions or making threats that are intended to intimidate, influence, or discourage a witness from testifying or cooperating with the authorities is a serious offense.
The specific penalties for obstructing justice in Canada can vary depending on the severity of the offense. They can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the circumstances and the seriousness of the obstruction.
It is an Offence to Lie to the Police?
It is generally not a specific offense to lie to the police in and of itself. However, intentionally providing false information to the police or making false statements during a police investigation can have legal consequences under various sections of the Criminal Code. These include:
- Public Mischief (s. 140): It is a criminal offense to mislead or provide false information to the police, which causes them to start or continue an investigation. This offense includes making false reports or giving false statements with the intent to divert suspicion from oneself or another person.
- Obstructing Justice (s.139): Providing false information to the police can also fall under the offense of obstructing justice. If the false information hinders or interferes with the administration of justice, it may be considered obstruction of justice.
- Perjury (s. 132): If false statements are made under oath in a court proceeding or in a sworn statement provided to the police, it may constitute the offense of perjury. Perjury is a serious offense and applies to false statements made in various legal contexts.