Chapter 6 The Nature of Crime
Defining a Crime and Criminal Offences A Crime is an act or omission of an act that is prohibited and punishable by federal statute How could an “omission of an act” be considered a crime?
Conditions required to be considered a crime • The act is considered wrong by society. • The act causes harm to society in general or to those (such as minors) who need protection. • The harm is serious. • The remedy must be handled by the criminal justice system.
Criminal Law A crime is considered to be an offence not just against the direct victim of the crime, but also against the public, or society as a whole. How is theft a crime against the public and not just the store owner?
Definition and Purposes of Criminal Law Definition: the body of laws that prohibit and punish acts that injure people, property, and society as a whole. Purposes: Protect people and property Maintain order Preserve standards of public decency
The Criminal Code The Criminal Codeis a Federal statute that contains the majority of criminal laws passed by Parliament. It lists not only the offences, but also the sentences (penalties) to be imposed and the procedures to follow when trying those accused of crimes. Why would Parliament enact new criminal laws?
Law in Your Life Examine “Law in Your Life” side note on page 141. Section 43 of the Criminal Code: Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.
Other Statutes containing Criminal Offences Controlled Drug and Substances Act The Customs Act The Competition Act The Youth Criminal Justice Act Food and Drug Act Income Tax Act
Criminal Law - Jurisdiction Federal jurisdiction to establish and revise criminal laws for the country. Administration is shared between provincial and federal governments. Provinces are responsible to pay for their own provincial judicial system and appoint judges.
Laws Created by Provinces or Municipalities Q - If the federal government is responsible for creating and revising the criminal code, what do we call laws created by provinces and municipalities? A – quasi-criminal laws
Laws Created by Provinces or Municipalities Q – What do these laws govern? A – generally less serious offences, usually punishable by a fine. However, jail sentences may apply in certain cases.
Review Page 143 – Building Your Understanding
The Elements of a Crime Two elements must usually exist in order to be convicted of committing a crime Actus Reus + Mens Rea = Crime
The Elements of a Crime • Actus Reus • “the guilty act” demonstrates a voluntaryaction, omission or state of being that is prohibited by law • Mens Rea • “the guilty mind” demonstrates that the act was intentional, knowing, negligent, reckless, or wilfully blind
R. v. MacGillivary • Page 144 • Read the case • We will examine the questions together • Be prepared to state your answer and defend your position
Actus Reus What about Omissions? failure to provide the necessities of life What about offences that are neither an act or an omission but a state of being? possession of stolen goods being in a gaming or common bawdy house Act or state of being must be voluntary
Mens Rea Intent – a state of mind in which someone desires to carry out a wrongful action, knows what the results will be, and is reckless regarding the consequences Q. – is there an age limit to be considered capable of forming mens rea?
Types of Intent General Intent – the desire to commit a wrongful act, with no ulterior motive or purpose e.g. striking someone because you’re mad Specific Intent – the desire to commit one wrongful act for the sake of accomplishing another e.g. striking someone so you can steal something from him/her
Types of Intent What’s the difference? Is one easier to prove then the other? Which would apply in the following crimes? Murder Manslaughter Is intoxication a defence with regard to mens rea? Case p. 148
Intent or Motive? What’s the difference? Intent – a state of mind in which someone desires to carry out a wrongful action, knows what the results will be, and is reckless regarding the consequences Motive – the reason someone commits a crime
Mens Rea Can knowledge of certain information be enough to establish mens rea? Knowledge: an awareness of certain facts that can be used to establish mens rea Examples? Fraudulent/forged documents
Mens Rea • Criminal Negligence • Everyone is criminally negligent who: • In doing anything, or • In omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons • Examples?
Mens Rea Recklessness: consciously taking an unjustifiable risk that a reasonable person would not take Examples? Wilful Blindness: a deliberate closing of one’s mind to the possible consequences of one’s actions Examples? Case – p149
Father Jailed in Death of Sonpage 146 Examine the case and be prepared to discuss
Mens Rea:Strict and Absolute Liability Mens Rea is not necessary for some less serious offences, such as those against regulatory laws. Strict Liability offences: offences that do not require mens rea but to which the accused can offer the defence of due diligence Absolute liability offences: offences that do not require mens rea and to which the accused can offer no defence
Attempt Can simply attempting an act be a criminal offence? See case on page 151
Involvement in a Crime Perpetrator: the person who actually commits the crime Parties to an offence: those people who are indirectly involved in committing a crime Aiding: a criminal offence that involves helping a perpetrator commit a crime Abetting: the crime of encouraging the perpetrator to commit an offence
Involvement in a Crime Counselling: a crime that involves advising, recommending, or persuading another to commit a criminal offence Examples? Accessories after the fact: someone who knowingly receives, comforts, or assists a perpetrator in escaping from the police Examples?
Involvement in a Crime Party to Common Intention: the shared responsibility among criminals for any additional offences that are committed in the course of the crime they originally intended to commit Examples?
Incomplete Crimes Attempt: the intention to commit a crime, even when the crime is not completed Conspiracy: an agreement between two or more people to carry out an illegal act, even if that act does not actually occur Examples?
Parties to an Offence Create your own scenario BLM 6-3
Case Study requirements • Use the following outline: • Provide the relevant facts (offence, people involved in the offence, and damages/injuries) in your own words • Actus reus and Mens rea applicable to this case • Answers to the questions • Criteria applicable to reaching a judgement
Additional Cases:group presentations R. v. Hackett R. v. Vang R. v. Canhoto R. v. Imperial Oil R. v. Jackson R. v. Genereux R. v. Vinokurov