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

Act current to 2014-04-02 and last amended on 2013-10-18. Previous Versions

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.