Legal Word of the Day: “Colour of Right”

Photo: Jaybear

Photo: Jaybear

“Colour of Right” — An honestly held belief in entitlement to property; a defence to a charge of theft; a bona fide belief or an honest belief arising from a genuine mistake or, in some cases, from ignorance.

A person is not liable to penalties for his actions which, though wrongful, were done in the honest but mistaken belief in a set of facts that, if true, would have made the actions not wrongful.

Related Cases and Information:

    R. v. Janusas, 2011 ONCA 742 (CanLII)
    A driveway dispute leads to mischief– and a rare summary conviction appeal.
    R. v. Simpson, 2015 SCC 40
    Onus is on the accused to show an “air of reality” to the colour of right defence.
    Trespass to Property Act, RSO 1990, c T.21
    “It is a defence to a charge under subsection (1) in respect of premises that is land that the person charged reasonably believed that he or she had title … “
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