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The Nature Of Crime Chapter 6.

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1 The Nature Of Crime Chapter 6

2 What Is A Crime? A crime is an act or omission of an act that is prohibited and punishable under federal statute. Four general conditions must exist for an act or omission to be considered a crime. The act is considered wrong by society. The act causes harm to society in general or to those who need protection. The harm must be serious! The remedy must be handled by the criminal justice system.

3 Criminal Law Criminal law refers to the body of laws that prohibit and punish acts that injure people, property and society as a whole. Three main purposes: protect people and property, maintain order and preserve standards of public decency. The Criminal Code of Canada is a federal statute that contains the majority of the criminal laws passed by parliament. It lists, not only offences, but also the sentences to be imposed and the procedures to follow when trying those accused of crimes. Laws passed by provinces or municipalities are called quasi-criminal laws, laws covering less serious offences at the provincial or municipal level, most often punishable by fines.

4 Elements of a Crime To be convicted of a crime a person must have the Actus Reus and the Mens Rea. Actus Reus is Latin for “the guilty act”, and is the voluntary action, omission, or state of being that is forbidden by the criminal code. The action is the physical act involved in committing the offence, omission is failure to do something that is your legal duty to do and state of being refers to things such as being in possession of stolen property or found in a gaming house.

5 Mens Rea is Latin for “the guilty mind” , where an accused person deliberately did something he or she knew to be wrong, with reckless disregard for the consequences. Mens Rea can be established by showing intent or knowledge. Intent means the accused meant to do something wrong, was reckless regarding the consequences and knew or should have foreseen the results. (key words, willfully or intentionally) General Intent means that a person commits a wrongful act for its own sake, with no other motive or purpose. Specific Intent applies when someone commits one wrongful act for the sake of doing another. Motive is the reason a person commits a crime, while intent refers to that person’s state of mind

6 Knowledge refers to an awareness of certain facts that can be used to establish Mens Rea. For example, knowing goods are stolen. Criminal Negligence can also be used to establish Mens Rea. A person is criminally negligence who in doing anything or omitting to do anything, shows wanton and reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others. Recklessness, consciously taking an unjustifiable risk that a reasonable person would not take, or Willful Blindness, deliberate closing of one’s mind to the possible consequences of one’s actions, could also be used to prove Mens Rea.

7 Strict and Absolute Liability
Some regulatory laws, federal or provincial statutes meant to protect the public welfare, do not have to have Mens Rea established to win a conviction. (speeding) Liability, legal responsibility for a wrongful action, can be strict or absolute. Strict liability Offences – offences that do not require Mens Rea but to which the accused can offer the defence of due diligence (the defence that the accused took every reasonable precaution to avoid committing a particular offence. Absolute Liability Offences – offences that do not require Mens Rea and to which the accused can offer no defence. (fines)

8 Parties To An Offence Perpetrator – the person who actually commits the crime. Aiding – means helping a perpetrator commit a crime. Abetting – encouraging the perpetrator of a crime without actually providing physical assistance. Counseling – a crime that involves advising, recommending or persuading another person to commit a criminal offence. Accessory after the fact – someone who knowingly receives, comforts or assists a perpetrator in escaping from police. Parties 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.

9 Incomplete Crimes Attempt refers to the attempt to commit a crime, even when the crime is not completed. The guilty act begins when mere preparation turns into action. (carrying break in tools) The intent is the obvious steps taken to commit the crime. Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to carry out an illegal act, even if that act does not actually occur.

10 Homework Question 12, page 158
R. v. Hackett, questions 1 and 2, page159 R. v. Vang, questions 1-3, page 159

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