Location of the Offence
- This offence must occur “at or near a public place.” Describe how the location fits this legal element.
- This is a summary conviction offence. The police officer will need to “find committing” in order to have arrest authourity
Describe the Type of Disturbance
- Clearly describe the actions and behaviours of the accused particularly focusing on how they fit the words used in Section 175
- (fighting, screaming, shouting, swearing, singing or using insulting or obscene language, etc)
Describe How People Were Disturbed
- Evidence From Witnesses
- A police officer can give evidence of the public disturbance (except for indecent exhibition) however, that evidence must still be that the actions of the accused disturbed the public (not the police officer). Your case will be stronger if you have statements from witness(s) who observed the disturbance, and were “disturbed” by the actions of the accused. In either case the court will want objective observations of the accused behaviour AND objective observations or statements showing that these actions disturbed the public. (How many people called 911 about the incident? Did the disturbance wake people up? Did you notice an unusual number of lights on, people looking out the window etc.)
- Anticipate that defence may suggest the behavior of the the accused while annoying, was not disturbing to people.
- Iatrogenic disturbance – The police officer cannot be the cause of the disturbance. If the disturbance starts as the result of the arrival, or contact with the police, this charge is not applicable. Yelling and screaming at the police is NOT a disturbance. Police cannot be disturbed, it must be the public that are disturbed. The fact that a crowd gathers is not necessarily evidence of the disturbance, they will be portrayed as curious onlookers, not disturbed members of the public.
Statutory wording for Causing A Disturbance Section 175