Mischief Related to Property
There are many forms of mischief under the Criminal Code of Canada, the most common being mischief related to property. Pursuant to section 430 of the Criminal Code, mischief related to property occurs when any person wilfully; (1) destroys or damages property, (2) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective, (3) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property, or (4) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.
In reference to destruction or damage to property, the Crown must prove that the actions of the accused left the property either less suited for its intended purpose or that the usefulness or value of the property was impaired, even if only temporarily.
General Intent Offence
Mischief related to property is a general intent offence. The Crown Attorney does not need to prove specific intent on your part, and thus a the defence that your were intoxicated and could not have formulated the intent required is not a defence to a charge of mischief.
Where property is alleged to have been damaged, the Crown Attorney only needs to prove that the property in question was rendered less suited for its intended purpose, or that the usefulness or value of the property was impaired even if only temporarily.
Use of Enjoyment
The terms use and enjoyment of property have been held to include interfering with a person’s ability to sleep at his or her place of residence.
Penalty for Mischief
The potential penalty for a conviction of mischief related to property will depend upon many factors including, whether bodily harm was caused to any other person, the nature of the property involved in the offence, the value of the property, and the motive behind committing the offence.