Mischief to Property

Mischief to property is a criminal offence in Canada. The two most common mischief to property criminal offences are "mischief under" and "mischief over". Over the years the value of property damaged that defined mischief under and mischief over has changed as inflation has changed the Canadian economy. When reading old cases don't be surprised to read references to "mischief under $50", "mischief under $200",  or "mischief under $1000" . The current criminal offences of mischief under $5000 and mischief over $5000 can be found in section 430 of the Criminal Code of Canada. These substantive criminal law sections apply to both adults and young persons but the punishments are different.

 

There are many other criminal offences that resemble mischief to property.

 

Please note that it is the underlying value of the property that defines the offence as "over" or "under". Ripping a screen door and causing damage that will require $50 for repair is "mischief over $5000" if it is attached to a house valued at $500,000. Causing $100 worth of damage to the concrete supports of a bridge that cost $2 million to build is mischief over $5000.

 

 

 

Criminal Code excerpts with adult punishments:

 

 

Definition of 

 In this Part,  means real or personal corporeal property.

 

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 385.

 

Wilfully causing event to occur
  •  (1) Every one who causes the occurrence of an event by doing an act or by omitting to do an act that it is his duty to do, knowing that the act or omission will probably cause the occurrence of the event and being reckless whether the event occurs or not, shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Part, wilfully to have caused the occurrence of the event.

  • Marginal note:Colour of right

    (2) No person shall be convicted of an offence under sections 430 to 446 where he proves that he acted with legal justification or excuse and with colour of right.

  • Marginal note:Interest

    (3) Where it is an offence to destroy or to damage anything,

    • (a) the fact that a person has a partial interest in what is destroyed or damaged does not prevent him from being guilty of the offence if he caused the destruction or damage; and

    • (b) the fact that a person has a total interest in what is destroyed or damaged does not prevent him from being guilty of the offence if he caused the destruction or damage with intent to defraud.

 

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 386.

 

Mischief
  •  (1) Every one commits mischief who wilfully

    • (a) destroys or damages property;

    • (b) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;

    • (c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or

    • (d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.

  • Marginal note:Mischief in relation to data

    (1.1) Every one commits mischief who wilfully

    • (a) destroys or alters data;

    • (b) renders data meaningless, useless or ineffective;

    • (c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use of data; or

    • (d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use of data or denies access to data to any person who is entitled to access thereto.

  • Marginal note:Punishment

    (2) Every one who commits mischief that causes actual danger to life is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

  • Marginal note:Punishment

    (3) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property that is a testamentary instrument or the value of which exceeds five thousand dollars

    • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

    • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (4) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property, other than property described in subsection (3),

    • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

    • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  • Marginal note:Mischief relating to religious property

    (4.1) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property that is a building, structure or part thereof that is primarily used for religious worship, including a church, mosque, synagogue or temple, or an object associated with religious worship located in or on the grounds of such a building or structure, or a cemetery, if the commission of the mischief is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on religion, race, colour or national or ethnic origin,

    • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

    • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.

  • Marginal note:Mischief in relation to cultural property

    (4.2) Every one who commits mischief in relation to cultural property as defined in Article 1 of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, done at The Hague on May 14, 1954, as set out in the schedule to the Cultural Property Export and Import Act,

    • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

    • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (5) Every one who commits mischief in relation to data

    • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

    • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  • Marginal note:Offence

    (5.1) Every one who wilfully does an act or wilfully omits to do an act that it is his duty to do, if that act or omission is likely to constitute mischief causing actual danger to life, or to constitute mischief in relation to property or data,

    • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

    • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  • Marginal note:Saving

    (6) No person commits mischief within the meaning of this section by reason only that

    • (a) he stops work as a result of the failure of his employer and himself to agree on any matter relating to his employment;

    • (b) he stops work as a result of the failure of his employer and a bargaining agent acting on his behalf to agree on any matter relating to his employment; or

    • (c) he stops work as a result of his taking part in a combination of workmen or employees for their own reasonable protection as workmen or employees.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (7) No person commits mischief within the meaning of this section by reason only that he attends at or near or approaches a dwelling-house or place for the purpose only of obtaining or communicating information.

  • Definition of 

    (8) In this section,  has the same meaning as in section 342.1.

 

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 430;

  •  R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 57;

  •  1994, c. 44, s. 28;

  •  2001, c. 41, s. 12;

  •  2005, c. 40, s. 3.

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