Sabotage is defined in s.52 of the Criminal Code as any prohibited act intended to deliberately damage, destroy, or obstruct for political or military advantage. This includes actions that harm Canada's safety, security, or defence or threaten the country's naval, army, or air forces. The word comes from the French word saboteur, meaning "bungle, botch, or wreck." Examples of prohibited acts include impairing the efficiency of machinery or causing property to be lost, damaged or destroyed. The maximum penalty upon conviction for sabotage as an indictable offence is 10 years in prison. Less severe sentences may be given if the charge is prosecuted as a summary conviction.
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What Is Sabotage?
According to s.52 (1) of the Criminal Code, sabotage is any prohibited act that could harm the safety, security or defence of Canada. It also is any act that threatens the country's naval, army or air forces, or any country's military that is lawfully operating in Canada. The word comes from the French word saboteur and refers to the action of deliberately destroying, damaging or obstructing something for political or military advantage.
What Is a Prohibited Act?
According to s.52 (2) of the Code, a prohibited act that is essential for any charge of sabotage refers to an act or an omission that:
- impairs the efficiency or impedes the working of any vessel, vehicle, aircraft, machinery, or another type of apparatus, or:
- causes property to be lost, damaged or destroyed.
What the Crown Must Prove
To win a conviction, the Crown prosecutor must prove that your actions constituted a prohibited act that was prejudicial to the safety of Canada or national military units legally operating within our borders.
Section 52 (3) of the Code sets out examples of what cannot be considered a prohibited act when it comes to the charge of sabotage. They include:
- if you stop working as a result of the failure to reach an agreement with your employer on any matter related to your position;
- if you stop working for your own protection or for that of fellow workers.
Section 52 (4) 4 notes that it is not a prohibited act to be near a dwelling-house or other place if you are there only for the purpose of obtaining or communicating information.
What Is The Penalty for Sabotage?
If your charge of sabotage is treated as an indictable offence the maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in prison. Less severe sentences are given if the charge is prosecuted as a summary conviction.