What is mischief?
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, there are many forms of mischief related to property. Generally, mischief occurs when a person willfully:
- destroys or damages property;
- renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;
- obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or
- obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.
The most common form of mischief is as a result of vandalism such as graffiti, breaking windows or other minor property damage. Despite the relatively minor sounding offence of “mischief”, the offence can carry significant penalties including up to 10 years in prison, a criminal record and impacts on employment opportunities.
Mischief relating to religious property
Everyone 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, is guilty of a hybrid offence.
Properties include, churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and any other object associated with religious worship.
Mischief relating to war memorials
Everyone who commits mischief in relation to property that is a building, structure or part thereof that primarily serves as a monument to honour persons who were killed or died as a consequence of a war, including a war memorial or cenotaph, or an object associated with honouring or remembering those persons that is located in or on the grounds of such a building or structure, or a cemetery is guilty of an indictable offence or an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Mischief in relation to cultural property
Everyone 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 is guilty of a hybrid offence.
Mischief in relation to computer data
Everyone commits mischief who wilfully
- destroys or alters computer data;
- renders computer data meaningless, useless or ineffective;
- obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use of computer data; or
- obstructs, interrupts or interferes with a person in the lawful use of computer data or denies access to computer data to a person who is entitled to access to it.
About Cory Wilson
Cory has represented individuals from all walks of life including lawyers, police officers, athletes, corporate executives, teachers, and everything in between. Cory believes in access to justice for every person charged with a criminal offence regardless of their economic background.