What is a Peace Bond?
In a few words, a peace bond is a protection order issued by a judge and requested by the person bringing a complaint forward. The peace bond would then be applied to the defendant in the matter, where they would be subjected to certain conditions to prevent them from committing an illegal offence. Breaching these conditions could then also then be seen as a criminal offence.
So what exactly are these ‘conditions,’ and how restrictive are they? To answer this, conditions under a peace bond likely vary depending on each specific case, but they can involve no-contact orders (where you are not allowed to contact a specific person or group of persons), abstaining from owning a weapon, or a good behaviour requirement.
There are actually two types of peace bonds that exist in Canadian law: one which we call the section 810 peace bond, and the more general common law peace bond.
A section 810 peace bond (also known as a statutory peace bond) refers to section 810 of the Criminal Code. For this type, the bond is ordered based on sworn information by the complainant and can only last up to a year. Usually, if someone casually mentions a “peace bond,” it is likely that they are referring to the section 810 type.
Alternatively, common law peace bonds are ordered by judges as a “preventative” measure in order to keep the peace, and do not refer to the Criminal Code. These peace bonds also have no maximum limit in terms of how long the conditions involved will apply. In order for this type of peace bond to be ordered, the judge must be satisfied that there is a potential “breach of the peace.” What does this mean? As per prior case law in Canada, a “breach of the peace” can be construed as “an act or actions which result in actual or threatened harm to someone. Actions which amount to a breach of the peace may or may not be unlawful standing alone.” Similarly, not “all conduct which right thinking members of the community would regard as offensive, disturbing, or even vaguely threatening” can be considered as breaching the peace. A judge would have more freedom in assessing whether or not a common law peace bond should be ordered than the section 810 version. A common law peace bond can be ordered on an accused even if he was acquitted at trial of assault.
How is a Peace Bond filed?
There are standards that are put in place to ensure that the defendant poses an actual threat in order for a peace bond to be ordered. The standard of proof is similar to that of a balance of probabilities, meaning that it isn’t as high as proof beyond a reasonable doubt. There are other ways a peace bond could be ordered too, for instance where a defendant has already been found guilty. In those situations, a peace bond could be ordered to prevent any further dangers from taking place, given the possible animosity between parties. Another occurrence would be where the accused was acquitted, but where the judge still believes that a peace bond would be optimal.
What is the cost for this service?
We charge a flat fee for this service. For more information on costs, we encourage you contact our office.