What is Assault with a Weapon or Assault Causing Bodily Harm?
Section 267 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to assault another person with a weapon, and to cause bodily harm to another person by assaulting them.
For the purposes of this offence, a weapon is anything used to cause death or injury to someone or to threaten or intimidate someone. Because the definition of weapon is so broad, the weapon does not have to be something we would typically consider a weapon, like a gun or a knife. Rather, it can include things like a remote control, a cucumber, or even a pet, so long as it is used to injure the victim.
You will be found guilty of assault causing bodily harm if in committing an assault, you hurt or injured a person in a manner that interferes with the health or comfort of that person and that is more than merely transient or trifling. An injury will be more than transient or trifling if the injury following the assault results in something more than the victim feeling a very small amount of distress for a short period of time.
Whether or not bodily harm resulted from an assault is a case-by-case determination that will be made on the basis of the facts presented to the judge. However, our courts consistently tend to find that if an injury interferes with the comfort of the victim in a way that is more than momentary, that it can be considered bodily harm. Some examples of injuries that were found to be bodily harm were serious bruises, a cut that took a month to heal, a sore throat lasting a couple of days, and a hand injury that interfered with the victim’s ability to open a door for a week.
In some cases, psychological damage will also constitute bodily harm. For example, in a case where the victim needed to seek counselling following a sexual assault, the court found that counselling was sufficient proof that the victim had suffered some real and lasting bodily harm.
The Penalty For Assault Causing Bodily Harm or Assault With A Weapon in Canada:
Assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm is a hybrid offence. This means that the Crown Prosecutor has the discretion to decide whether they will proceed by indictment, or whether they will prosecute you summarily.
If the Crown Prosecutor proceeds by way of indictment and you are convicted of assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm, you will be liable to a jail sentence of up to 10 years. If the Crown proceeds summarily, you will be liable to a jail sentence of up to 18 months. In addition, if you are convicted, you will be found guilty of a primary designated offence and will be ordered to provide your DNA to a national DNA databank. This databank provides the police with the DNA of known offenders, so that they can use this information to narrow down suspects when investigating criminal offences.
If you are convicted of assault causing bodily harm or assault with a weapon, you may also be subject to other ancillary orders such as a weapons or firearms prohibition. A weapons or firearms prohibition will prohibit you from owning or possessing a firearm or weapon for a period of time specified by the court.