Ghomeshi set to sign a peace bond. What is a peace bond? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Ghomeshi set to sign a peace bond. What is a peace bond?

May 10, 2016 - 1:03 PM

TORONTO - The legal saga of former CBC radio star Jian Ghomeshi is set to come to an end with what sources say will be the signing of a peace bond. But what is a peace bond? Here's what you need to know:

- What is a peace bond?

A peace bond is an order from the court that requires a person to be on good behaviour and abide by set conditions for a certain time. Criminal lawyer Daniel Brown says "good behaviour" entails not breaking any laws. The conditions, which are tailored to individual cases, could include not having contact with a complainant or restrictions on owning weapons. Brown says such orders are common in domestic-assault cases or situations where criminal prosecution seems unlikely to succeed.

- Are there different types of peace bonds?

Yes. Criminal and common-law peace bonds exist, though only the criminal type is likely to apply in Ghomeshi's case. Under Section 810 of the Criminal Code, a person can enter into a peace bond for no more than 12 months.

Failure to maintain good behaviour or abide by the conditions can result in either a $2,000 fine, a jail sentence of up to 18 months.

Defence lawyer Marcy Segal said those potential punishments give Criminal Code peace bonds more teeth than their common-law counterparts, adding lawyers often try to secure the latter type for their clients. But she described the differences between them as relatively small, saying a client's acceptance of a Criminal Code peace bond amounts to a "99 per cent win versus 100 per cent."

- Why go this route in the Ghomeshi case?

Brown says peace bonds are often used as a way to resolve a case without having to have both sides present evidence at trial. He says they are issued at the request of the complainant, who may not wish to testify, or at the request of a prosecutor, who recognizes a case is unlikely to result in conviction. Historical sex assault charges, such as those Ghomeshi was slated to face, are examples of cases that are difficult to prosecute, he says.

"If this had just been Joe Citizen and not Jian Ghomeshi, we might have even expected this type of outcome much sooner," he says. "In fact, this case may never have made its way into the court system in the first place."

Susan Chapman, the lawyer representing the complainant in the scheduled June trial, declined to say whether her client had asked to resolve the case through a peace bond. But a source told The Canadian Press that this one was instigated by Ghomeshi's lawyer, who did not respond to a request for comment.

Segal says peace bonds can also be advantageous to accused.

"A peace bond is not a recognition of any wrongdoing specifically," she says. "If my client's going to accept a peace bond, what we usually say is we will not challenge the allegations. We don't admit them, though, and we don't wish to show cause (for entering into it)."

- So does this mean Ghomeshi is being punished?

It's difficult to say without knowing the precise terms of any peace bond Ghomeshi may accept. The source said the deal will see Ghomeshi admit to some form of misconduct against the complainant and issue an apology. As far as punitive measures go, however, Brown says a peace bond barely rates.

"It's not even a slap on the wrist. It's even less than that. All he's being asked to do is abide by the law for 12 months."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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