Athough riots are usually reserved for Stanley Cup victories in Montreal, public officials must feel relieved the deciding game in the Canadiens’ historic’ first round playoff victory took place in the home of the heavily favoured Washington Capitals.
While rioters in Montreal have generally been charged with specific offences such as mischief and assault in the aftermath of their criminal “celebrations” old school Montreal criminal lawyers would find it amusing to see the archaic provisions of the Criminal Code actually applied during the course of a riot.
Article 63 defines an unlawful assembly as three or more persons who conduct themselves so as to give reasonable grounds to fear they will “disturb the peace tumultuously”.
Article 64: “A riot is an unlawful assembly that has begun to disturb the peace tumultuously.”
Most criminal law students are surprised that a form of the so called Riot Act actually exists in article 67 of the Criminal Code which provides that when certain public officials, the list being headed by the mayor, receive notice that twelve or more persons are “riotously assembled together…shall go…as near as is safe ,..shall command silence…and cause to be made in a loud voice a proclamation in the following words or to the like effect:
‘ Her Majesty the Queen charges and commands all persons being assembled immediately to disperse and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful place of business on the pain of being guilty of an offence for which, on conviction, they may be sentenced to imprisonment for life. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.’ ”
Perhaps someone would like to draw His Worship Mayor Tremblay’s attention to these provisions so he can prepare for the next few weeks just in case David Halak actually slays Goliath Crosby.