Failure to remove building results in contempt order

Posted by Johannes Schenk on May 12th, 2016 — Posted in Litigation, Municipal Law

2016 BCCA 201 Langford (City) v. dos Reis concerns a failure to abide by a Court of Appeal issued order to remove a building. The refusal to abide by the order resulted in a contempt finding.

On intention to breach the order the Court had this to say:

[24] It is not controversial that the first two elements of civil contempt are satisfied: the order is clear and the respondent was fully aware of it. The real issue in this case is the third element: intent. The respondent’s position is simply that her mind was on saving the building, not on breaching the order. That is not a valid defence to civil contempt. I refer again to Carey v. Laiken:

[38] It is well settled in Canadian common law that all that is required to establish civil contempt is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of an intentional act or omission that is in fact in breach of a clear order of which the alleged contemnor has notice: Prescott-Russell, at para. 27; College of Optometrists, at para. 71; Sheppard, at p. 8; TG Industries, at paras. 17 and 32; Bhatnager, at pp. 224-25; Sharpe [Robert J. Sharpe, Injunctions and Specific Performance, 2d ed. (Aurora, Ont.: Canada Law Book, 1992) (loose-leaf updated November 2014, release 23)], at para. 6.190. The Court of Appeal followed this approach. As it noted, to require a contemnor to have intended to disobey the order would put the test “too high” and result in “mistakes of law [becoming] a defence to an allegation of civil contempt but not to a murder charge” (2013 ONCA 530, at para. 59). Instead, contumacy or lack thereof goes to the penalty to be imposed following a finding of contempt: para. 62; see also Sheppard; and Sharpe, at para. 6.200.

[25] There cannot be the slightest doubt that the respondent intentionally omitted to remove the building. I find that the third element of civil contempt has been made out.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.