Last week Jian Ghomeshi entered a peace bond, at which point the Crown withdrew the remaining charge against him. This brings an end to the legal saga of Jian Ghomeshi’s matters. A question that is being asked by a lot of people is what a peace bond is. They are not uncommon as a resolution in cases of assault, specifically in domestic assault situations.
A peace bond, often called an 810 due to the fact that section 810 of the Criminal Code allows for issuing of the peace bond, is a promise to the court to keep the peace and be of good behaviour, which is legal terminology that essentially means don’t break the law, and to abide by any terms of condition which are usually a non-contact condition for the complainant. The entering of a peace bond is not admitting guilt, nor is it admitting that one committed a crime. The peace bond provides a manner in which the charge can be dealt with allowing the complainant the ability to feel safe and be provided with a level of security, while not burdening the accused with a criminal record.
Peace bonds can be issued on their own, and not resulting as a resolution to a criminal charge, by anyone who has reason to fear for their safety. Once a Justice of the Peace hears the complaint, a peace bond hearing is set and both the complainant and the accused are allowed to call evidence to either prove or rebut the complaint. The test in a peace bond hearing is lower than the usual criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, and is on a balance of probabilities.