National Defence Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. N-5)

Act current to 2016-09-18 and last amended on 2015-06-01. Previous Versions

Civil Defences

Marginal note:Rules and principles of civil courts applicable

 All rules and principles that are followed from time to time in the civil courts and that would render any circumstance a justification or excuse for any act or omission or a defence to any charge are applicable in any proceedings under the Code of Service Discipline.

  • 2013, c. 24, s. 15.

Ignorance of the Law

Marginal note:Ignorance not to constitute excuse

 The fact that a person is ignorant of the provisions of this Act, or of any regulations or of any order or instruction duly notified under this Act, is no excuse for any offence committed by the person.

  • 2013, c. 24, s. 15.

Misconduct of Commanders in Presence of Enemy

Marginal note:Offences by commanders when in action

 Every officer in command of a vessel, aircraft, defence establishment, unit or other element of the Canadian Forces who

  • (a) when under orders to carry out an operation of war or on coming into contact with an enemy that it is the duty of the officer to engage, does not use his utmost exertion to bring the officers and non-commissioned members under his command or his vessel, aircraft or other materiel into action,

  • (b) being in action, does not, during the action, in the officer’s own person and according to the rank of the officer, encourage his officers and non-commissioned members to fight courageously,

  • (c) when capable of making a successful defence, surrenders his vessel, aircraft, defence establishment, materiel, unit or other element of the Canadian Forces to the enemy,

  • (d) being in action, improperly withdraws from the action,

  • (e) improperly fails to pursue an enemy or to consolidate a position gained,

  • (f) improperly fails to relieve or assist a known friend to the utmost of his power, or

  • (g) when in action, improperly forsakes his station,

is guilty of an offence and on conviction, if the officer acted traitorously, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life, if the officer acted from cowardice, is liable to imprisonment for life or less punishment, and in any other case, is liable to dismissal with disgrace from Her Majesty’s service or to less punishment.

  • R.S., 1985, c. N-5, s. 73;
  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (1st Supp.), s. 60;
  • 1998, c. 35, s. 24.

Misconduct of any Person in Presence of Enemy

Marginal note:Offences by any person in presence of enemy

 Every person who

  • (a) improperly delays or discourages any action against the enemy,

  • (b) goes over to the enemy,

  • (c) when ordered to carry out an operation of war, fails to use his utmost exertion to carry the orders into effect,

  • (d) improperly abandons or delivers up any defence establishment, garrison, place, materiel, post or guard,

  • (e) assists the enemy with materiel,

  • (f) improperly casts away or abandons any materiel in the presence of the enemy,

  • (g) improperly does or omits to do anything that results in the capture by the enemy of persons or the capture or destruction by the enemy of materiel,

  • (h) when on watch in the presence or vicinity of the enemy, leaves his post before he is regularly relieved or sleeps or is drunk,

  • (i) behaves before the enemy in such manner as to show cowardice, or

  • (j) does or omits to do anything with intent to imperil the success of any of Her Majesty’s Forces or of any forces cooperating therewith,

is guilty of an offence and on conviction, if the person acted traitorously, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life, and in any other case, is liable to imprisonment for life or to less punishment.

  • R.S., 1985, c. N-5, s. 74;
  • 1998, c. 35, s. 25.

Security

Marginal note:Offences related to security

 Every person who

  • (a) improperly holds communication with or gives intelligence to the enemy,

  • (b) without authority discloses in any manner whatever any information relating to the numbers, position, materiel, movements, preparations for movements, operations or preparations for operations of any of Her Majesty’s Forces or of any forces cooperating therewith,

  • (c) without authority discloses in any manner whatever any information relating to a cryptographic system, aid, process, procedure, publication or document of any of Her Majesty’s Forces or of any forces cooperating therewith,

  • (d) makes known the parole, watchword, password, countersign or identification signal to any person not entitled to receive it,

  • (e) gives a parole, watchword, password, countersign or identification signal different from that which he received,

  • (f) without authority alters or interferes with any identification or other signal,

  • (g) improperly occasions false alarms,

  • (h) when acting as sentry or lookout, leaves his post before he is regularly relieved or sleeps or is drunk,

  • (i) forces a safeguard or forces or strikes a sentinel, or

  • (j) does or omits to do anything with intent to prejudice the security of any of Her Majesty’s Forces or of any forces cooperating therewith,

is guilty of an offence and on conviction, if the person acted traitorously, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life, and in any other case, is liable to imprisonment for life or to less punishment.

  • R.S., 1985, c. N-5, s. 75;
  • 1998, c. 35, s. 26.

Prisoners of War

Marginal note:Offences related to prisoners of war

 Every person who

  • (a) by want of due precaution, or through disobedience of orders or wilful neglect of duty, is made a prisoner of war,

  • (b) having been made a prisoner of war, fails to rejoin Her Majesty’s service when able to do so, or

  • (c) having been made a prisoner of war, serves with or aids the enemy,

is guilty of an offence and on conviction, if the person acted traitorously, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life, and in any other case, is liable to imprisonment for life or to less punishment.

  • R.S., 1985, c. N-5, s. 76;
  • 1998, c. 35, s. 27.

Miscellaneous Operational Offences

Marginal note:Offences related to operations

 Every person who

  • (a) does violence to any person bringing materiel to any of Her Majesty’s Forces or to any forces cooperating therewith,

  • (b) irregularly detains any materiel being conveyed to any unit or other element of Her Majesty’s Forces or of any forces cooperating therewith,

  • (c) irregularly appropriates to the unit or other element of the Canadian Forces with which the person is serving any materiel being conveyed to any other unit or element of Her Majesty’s Forces or of any forces cooperating therewith,

  • (d) without orders from the person’s superior officer, improperly destroys or damages any property,

  • (e) breaks into any house or other place in search of plunder,

  • (f) commits any offence against the property or person of any inhabitant or resident of a country in which he is serving,

  • (g) steals from, or with intent to steal searches, the person of any person killed or wounded, in the course of warlike operations,

  • (h) steals any money or property that has been left exposed or unprotected in consequence of warlike operations, or

  • (i) takes otherwise than for the public service any money or property abandoned by the enemy,

is guilty of an offence and on conviction, if the person committed the offence on active service, is liable to imprisonment for life or to less punishment and, in any other case, is liable to dismissal with disgrace from Her Majesty’s service or to less punishment.

  • R.S., c. N-4, s. 67.

Spies for the Enemy

Marginal note:Offence of being spy

 Every person who spies for the enemy is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to imprisonment for life or to less punishment.

  • R.S., 1985, c. N-5, s. 78;
  • 1998, c. 35, s. 28.

Mutiny

Marginal note:Mutiny with violence

 Every person who joins in a mutiny that is accompanied by violence is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to imprisonment for life or to less punishment.

  • R.S., 1985, c. N-5, s. 79;
  • 1998, c. 35, s. 28.
Marginal note:Mutiny without violence

 Every person who joins in a mutiny that is not accompanied by violence is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years or to less punishment or, in the case of a ringleader of the mutiny, to imprisonment for life or to less punishment.

  • R.S., 1985, c. N-5, s. 80;
  • 1998, c. 35, s. 28.
 
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