What is forcible confinement?

Forcible confinement is the intentional forcible imprisonment or seizing of another person, for a significant period of time, without that person’s consent and without lawful authority.

For an accused to be guilty of forcible confinement, the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that they:

(1) “Intentionally… – The accused must have intended to forcibly confine the complainant (complainant = alleged victim). An accused “intends” to forcibly confine someone if they at least know there’s a risk they’re forcibly confining them;

(2) …forcibly… – The accused must have applied force to the complainant, or the threat of force, when confining them. “Applying force” just means touching;

(3) …imprisoned or seized another person… – The accused must have restrained the complainant to a specific place. However, the complainant didn’t have to be restrained to the point that they couldn’t have escape. Also, the complainant didn’t have to be restrained physically. They could have been restrained psychologically;

(4) …for a significant period of time… – The accused must have confined the complainant for more than a few moments;

(5) …without that person’s consent… – The complainant must not have consented to the accused confining them. The accused must also have known there was at least a risk the complainant didn’t consent to the accused confining them;

(6) …and without lawful authority. – Someone can legally forcibly confine another person if they have lawful authority to do so. An obvious example is an on-duty peace officer (i.e. police officer) who arrests someone they reasonably suspect of committing a crime.

The difference between “kidnapping” and “confining” is that kidnapping involves moving someone from one place to another.

What are some defences to forcible confinement?

Defences to forcible confinement include denials of certain elements (i.e. ingredients) of the offence, and defences that can justify the confinement. For example, the accused won’t be guilty of forcible confinement if:

(1) The prosecutor can’t prove the complainant hadn’t consented to it;

(2) The accused honestly believed the complainant had consented to it;

(3) The accused didn’t intend to confine the complainant; or

(3) The accused’s act of confining the complainant was justified on grounds of self-defence, defence of another, or defence of property.

You can find some of the firm’s case results for forcible confinement HERE.


Schedule a free consultation with Vancouver lawyer Georges Prat.

Call 604.445.2543