Canadian Criminal Law/Offences/Contempt of Court



708. (1) A person who, being required by law to attend or remain in attendance for the purpose of giving evidence, fails, without lawful excuse, to attend or remain in attendance accordingly is guilty of contempt of court.
(2) A court, judge, justice or provincial court judge may deal summarily with a person who is guilty of contempt of court under this section and that person is liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ninety days or to both, and may be ordered to pay the costs that are incident to the service of any process under this Part and to his detention, if any.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 708; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 203.


Proof of Offence


The Crown may prove any of the following elements: [1]

  1. the accused's conduct seriously interferes with or obstructs the administration of justice or causes a serious risk of interference or obstruction with the administration of justice.[2]
  2. the accused intended or was reckless in committing the conduct
  1. R. v. Devost, [2010] O.J. No. 2611 at paras. 34 to 36
  2. R v Glasner 1994 CanLII 3444 (ONCA)



A person who fails to comply with an order under s. 605 to release an exhibit for testing is also guilty of contempt.(see s. 605(2))

A witness who gives evidence from outside of Canada by way of video will be deemed to having given it in Canada for the purpose of a charge of contempt. (714.6)

Section 10 permits an appeal to the Court of Appeal for a conviction.

Case Digests

  • R. v. Bengy, 2013 ONSC 248 (CanLII)
  • R. v. Cohn 1984 CanLII 43 (ON CA)