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Elements of False Pretence – Section 361 CCC

False Pretences are used primarily for offences involving cheques.

Date and Time:

This can be a difficult element to prove. Expect Crown will want the following evidence from your witness

  • Date cheque was given or presented for payment to the victim
  • Date cheque was cashed by victim
    • The cheque must be cashed within a reasonable time after it was presented
  • Cheque was NOT for a future date (postdated) when accepted by the victim
    • Accepting a postdated cheque is a civil matter



This can be a difficult element to prove. Crown needs to prove where the offence occurred. People have been acquitted because they have stated they were asked by another person to cash the cheque. This is a legal question of how police prove that the person who presented the cheque as payment also produced the cheque.

  • Is there a witness who saw the accused sign (or produce) the cheque
  • The offence occurs in the jurisdiction where the document was produced
    • Therefore jurisdiction may be where the accused lives not where the victim lives, or where the victim banks
  • Handwriting experts may need to be called to establish the accused produced the cheque


Identification of Accused

Once again another tricky element. Clearly state who can identify (or recognize) the accused as the person who

  • Presented the cheque
  • Produced the cheque
  • Signed Signature cards and/or other documents in evidence


Property Obtained by False Pretence

What property was obtained from the victim as the result of this crime?

  • Value of goods or property obtained.
  • Continuity of evidence

A clear statement from the victim that cheque was not honored by the bank

  • The cheques came back as NSF, no such account


Documents from Victim

  • Obtain the original cheque
  • Seize and tag as evidence


Evidence from Bank

  • What is the account number
  • Evidence to link the cheque to the account
  • Date the account was opened
  • What was the status of the account
    • Before, after and at the time of the offence
  • Obtain the File Signature Card
    • You may need to get a production order to obtain the original which would be needed by a handwriting expert
  • Can someone from the bank ID or recognize the accused
  • Does the accused have a history of bad cheques?
    • Evidence of bad history (bank records)
    • How recent is this history? (Crown likes records 2 months on either side of the offence date)
  • Evidence the accused did NOT have overdraft protection or permission
  • Who is the Bank witness who can explain how cheques are handled in the “normal course of business”.

Related Link:

Statutory Wording for False Pretence