Presentation on theme: "Capital Punishment in Canada Capital punishment was removed from the Canadian Criminal Code in 1976. It was replaced with a mandatory life sentence without."— Presentation transcript:
Capital Punishment in Canada Capital punishment was removed from the Canadian Criminal Code in 1976. It was replaced with a mandatory life sentence without possibility of parole for 25 years for all first-degree murders. In 1998 capital punishment was also removed from the Canadian National Defense Act, bringing Canadian military law in line with civil law in Canada. Here is a time line of the evolution of capital punishment and the abolition of the death penalty in Canada.
1865 Crimes of murder, treason and rape carried the death penalty in Upper and Lower Canada. 1961 Murder was classified into capital and non-capital offenses Capital murder offenses in Canada were premeditated murder and murder of a police officer, guard or warden in the course of duty. A capital offense had a mandatory sentence of hanging.
1962 The last executions took place in Canada. Arthur Lucas, convicted of the premeditated murder of an informer and witness in racket discipline, and Robert Turpin, convicted of the unpremeditated murder of a policeman to avoid arrest, were hanged at the Don Jail in Toronto, Ontario. ClipClip 1966 Capital punishment in Canada was limited to the killing of on-duty police officers and prison guards. ClipClip
1976 Capital punishment was removed from the Canadian Criminal Code. It was replaced with a mandatory life sentence without possibility of parole for 25 years for all first-degree murders. The bill was passed by a free vote in the House of Commons. Capital punishment still remained in the Canadian National Defense Act for the most serious military offenses, including treason and mutiny. ClipClip 1987 A motion to reintroduce capital punishment was debated in the Canadian House of Commons and defeated on a free vote.
1998 The Canadian National Defense Act was changed to remove the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment with no eligibility for parole before 25 years. This brought Canadian military law in line with civil law in Canada. 2001 The Supreme Court of Canada ruled, in United States v. Burns, that in extradition cases it is constitutionally required that "in all but exceptional cases" the Canadian government seek assurances that the death penalty will not be imposed, or if imposed not carried out.
Looking back on the death penalty in Canada Words from a hangman The big debate
CBC also interviewed a doctor who said hanging was an inhumane method of execution. Dr. Guy Richmond X-rayed the bodies of hanging victims and said he couldn't find the fractured vertebrae Ellis spoke of. The heart does not stop beating until 10 to 12 minutes after death, he also explained. Hanging executions are now widely recognized as cruel. Of the 84 nations that still employ the death penalty, lethal injection is the most commonly used method. Since the 1970s, methods employed in the United States have been electrocution, hanging, lethal injection and firing squads.
By 1867, Canada no longer allowed inhumane punishment such as flogging and branding. A change in attitude toward criminals took place in the 1850s. Reformers believed if criminals repented in a penitentiary (as the name suggests) they could be rehabilitated. In 1865, capital offenses were limited to murder, rape and treason. Rape was removed from the list of capital offenses in 1954. Until 1859, some 230 petty offenses were punishable by death, including turnip theft, being disguised in a forest, casting away a ship, exhibiting a false signal, buggery and arson. Many accounts claim Canada's last public execution took place in 1868. Before thousands of onlookers, Patrick James Whalen was hanged for the murder of Thomas D'Arcy McGee, one of the fathers of Confederation. Whalen maintained innocence until the end.