The offence of break and enter encompasses situations where theaccused was or attempted to trespass on private property with an intent tocommit an indictable offence (i.e. a non-summary criminal offence). Themost typical form of break and enter is a break into a commercial or privateresidence in order to steal property. The most serious form of break andenter is where the accused did the act knowing that there were people presentand was prepared to use force against them in a robbery-like fashion. Thisis known as a “home invasion”.
A less frequent form of break and enter is the entry into privateproperty in order to confront a person found within intending to assault orthreaten with
violence. The parties normally know each other and arises from adispute between them, sometimes domestic.
The evidence in most of these cases is circumstantial, and soidentity is often a key point of litigation. In many cases the accused wasfound at some
time later with stolen items in their possession for which theCrown can use to establish guilt by way of the doctrine of recent possession.
348. (1) Every one who
(a) breaks and enters a place with intent to commit an indictableoffence therein,
(b) breaks and enters a place and commits an indictable offencetherein, or
(c) breaks out of a place after
(i) committing an indictable offence therein, or
(ii) entering the place with intent to commit an indictableoffence therein,
(d) if the offence is committed in relation to a dwelling-house,of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life, and
(e) if the offence is committed in relation to a place other thana dwelling-house, of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for aterm not exceeding ten years or of an offence punishable on summaryconviction.
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