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Chapter 4 Criminal Law and Criminal Offences

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1 Chapter 4 Criminal Law and Criminal Offences

2 Introduction criminal law deals with offences committed against society civil law deals with offences committed against individuals

3 The Need for Criminal Law
helps to keep order in society penalties help to deter (prevent) people from committing crimes emphasizes prevention and penalties does not place much emphasis on compensating victims for the losses suffered because of a crime

4 The Nature of Criminal Law
parliament decides what is a crime and regularly passes laws to change the Criminal Code Criminal Code reflects the values of society reform of the Criminal Code usually reflects a shift in values and may occur because of public pressure

5 Criminal Actions the Law Commission of Canada has suggested certain conditions must exist for an act to be subject to criminal penalty harm others violate the basic values of society using the law to deal with the action must not violate the basic values of society makes a contribution to resolving the problem

6 The Power to Make Criminal Law
federal parliament has jurisdiction over criminal law

7 Quasi-Criminal Law laws passed by the provinces, territories, or municipalities which are not considered part of criminal law Eg., types of offences that fall under the Highway Traffic Act breaking these laws usually results in a fine

8 The Criminal Code is the main source of criminal law in Canada
other criminal offences are listed in statutes passed by Parliament such as the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (formerly the Narcotic Control Act) when judges make decisions on important cases, these decisions may become precedents and may be followed by other judges making similar cases

9 Types of Criminal Offences
summary conviction indictable offences hybrid offences

10 Summary Conviction Offences
minor criminal offences can be arrested and summoned to court without delay generally maximum penalty is $2000 and/or six months in jail the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act specifies a maximum penalty of $2000 and or imprisonment for one year for possession of narcotics

11 Indictable Offences are serious crimes more sever penalties
sets a maximum penalty for each offence -up to life imprisonment for some offences such as homicide the trial judge decides on the actual punishment or sentence some indictable offences have a minimum penalty

12 Hybrid Offences treated as indictable offences but the Crown attorney can adjust to summary e.g., theft

13 The Elements of a Crime two conditions must exist for an act to be a “criminal offence" Actus reus and mens rea actus reus is a wrongful deed mens rea means guilty mind Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that a person is "to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law"

14 Crown must prove the actus reus and mens rea existed
must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt reasonable doubt will mean the accused will be acquitted and set free

15 A Actus Reus Criminal Code usually explains what must occur for an act to be considered a crime actus reus can also describe a failure to do something

16 B Mens Rea exists if the offence is committed with (1) intent or knowledge or (2) recklessness

17 Intent or Knowledge intent is the true purpose of the act
based on the facts and on what a reasonable person would be thinking under the circumstances can be either general or specific

18 a) General intent to perform an action means that the intent is limited to the act itself and the person has no other criminal purpose in mind e.g., trespassing only

19 b) Specific intent exists when the person committing the offence has a further criminal purpose in mind e.g., breaking and entering with intent to commit robbery (2 offences, breaking and entry and robbery)

20 the law considers some people to be incapable of forming the intent necessary to commit a crime
mental illness, minors (children), or people who are so drunk or "high" they do not understand what they are doing

21 Knowledge of certain facts can also provide the necessary mens rea
a person commits fraud when they use a credit card they know has been cancelled—one does not have to prove intent just prove they knew the card was cancelled

22 Motive the reason for committing an offence
it does not establish the guilt of the accused may be used as circumstantial evidence--indirect evidence that would lead you to conclude that someone is guilty the judge may also refer to the motive for an offence during sentencing

23 Recklessness is the careless disregard for the possible results of an action driving over the speed limit and cutting people off in traffic could result in criminal charges if injury occurs as a result of these actions

24 Offences without a Mens Rea
violations of federal or provincial regulations, which are less serious offences than those in the Criminal Code, do not require that the mens rea be proven eg., violations of federal or provincial regulations passed to protect the public—speeding and polluting the environment which are called regulatory offences

25 two types of regulatory offences: strict liability offences and absolute liability offences
-strict liability offences -prove only the offence was committed -defence of accused is DUE DILIGENCE which means that the accused took reasonable care not to commit the offence or honestly believed in a mistaken set of facts -absolute liability offences-Crown does not have to prove mens rea--there is no possible defence

26 Canadian law does not specify which regulatory offences are strict liability or absolute liability
it is left to the court to decide what the government intended

27 Attempt a person who intends to commit a crime but fails to complete the act may still be guilty of a criminal offence proving attempt means proving that there was intent the actus reus for an attempt begins when the person takes the first step toward committing the crime if the crown was unable to prove that an offence was committed the accused may be convicted of attempt

28 Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime all the people involved must be serious in their intention

29 Parties to an Offence a) Aiding
aiding means to help someone commit a crime b) Abetting abetting means to encourage someone to commit a crime must prove the following two items for aiding and abetting 1) accused had knowledge the person intended to commit an offence 2) the accused actually helped or encouraged the person to commit the offence

30 all charged with the same offence except the accessory after the fact
to counsel (suggest) or incite (urge) someone to commit a crime is also an offence c) Accessory after the Fact is someone who helps a criminal escape detention or capture one exception to this law is the favoured relationship between a legally married couple d) principle the person who commits the offence all charged with the same offence except the accessory after the fact

31 Our Criminal Court System
the structure and procedures of Canadian courts are constantly changing to provide greater efficiency jurisdiction over the court system is divided between the federal and provincial governments Constitution Act, 1867 gave the provincial governments jurisdiction over the administration of justice in their provinces (provincial courts look after criminal laws) read text pg criminal court system in Canada

32 federal government controls criminal law
the Constitution Act, 1867, gave the federal government the authority to set up two other courts Court of Appeal for Canada known as the Supreme Court of Canada and The Federal Court which reviews decisions of federal board and commissions, among other activities it does not deal with criminal law

33 Criminal Offences and Procedures
a) Summary and Minor Indictable Offences Procedures must be charged within six months of committing an offence court judge hears the evidence and gives the verdict for traffic offences a court appearance is not necessary if you are signing the guilty plea on the ticket citation and you pay the fine

34 b) Indictable Offences Procedures
no time limit for the laying of a charge minor indictable offences are treated much like summary offences serious indictable offence the accused can choose between having a provincial court judge or a higher court judge or a judge and jury most serious indictable offences are treated by a judge and jury in the case of murder and treason

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