What are the different types of Peace Bond?
There are two different types of Peace Bonds that are utilized as a form of resolution, both of which result in an accused person’s criminal charges being withdrawn. In larger cities such as Calgary and Edmonton, the most common form is a section 810 Peace Bond. In smaller municipalities and rural courthouses, a common law Peace Bond is generally utilized.
Section 810 Peace Bond
A Peace Bond under section 810 of the Criminal Code has a distinct procedure that must be followed. An information may be laid before a justice by or on behalf of the complainant who fears on reasonable grounds that the accused will cause personal injury to him or another person. A justice who receives an information and is satisfied by the evidence of fear, will order that the accused enter into a recognisance to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of time that does not exceed 12 months and comply with any other conditions so ordered.
A section 810 Peace Bond is most often used in domestic violence situations in which the Crown agrees to withdraw the criminal charges if the accused enters into a Peace Bond to deal with underlying behaviour issues through counselling. Generally, conditions attached to the Peace Bond are counselling, no alcohol (if it was a factor in the alleged assault) and reporting to a probation officer.
The procedure for entering into a section 810 Peace Bond is to have a police officer speak with the complainant and inquire if there is ongoing fear. If the complainant has ongoing fear, the police officer will sign a document called an information and present it to the judge. The accused will agree in court (through his or her lawyer) that fear exists and then will enter into the Peace Bond by signing a new recognizance. When the judge orders the accused into the Peace Bond, the criminal charges are withdrawn and the accused is left with no criminal record for the alleged offence.
Common Law Peace Bond
A common law Peace Bond is very similar to a section 810 Peace Bond, except that there is no requirement for ongoing fear and a police officer does not swear an information. In order to enter into a common law Peace Bond, there has to be a reasonable basis to believe that the accused may breach the peace. There is no set definition for what “may breach the peace” means and little to no evidence is required for a judge to find such a basis exists.
A common law Peace Bond is often used in smaller municipalities and rural courthouses (Okotoks, Strathmore, Airdrie, Canmore, etc.) because police officers aren’t available to canvass complainant’s for fear and swear informations in court. The process for entering into a common law Peace Bond is much simpler than a section 810 Peace Bond. The accused attends court and the prosecutor informs the judge that there is a concern that he or she may breach the peace. The accused (through defence counsel) agrees and the judge makes the Order for the accused to enter into the Peace Bond. The criminal charges are then withdrawn and the accused signs a new recognizance.
Resolving criminal charges by entering into a Peace Bond is an incredibly favorable form of resolution. No matter how strong an accused’s case is, anything can happen at trial. To avoid the cost and stress of a trial, and to guarantee the criminal charges are withdrawn, it is very advantageous to enter into a Peace Bond. Cory Wilson’s experience, skill and close working relationship with the Crown Prosecutors Office has consistently and continuously resulted in his clients’ charges being resolved by Peace Bond.