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Criminal Law Unit Project

Using what you know about the Canadian Criminal Code and Canada’s Court system,

you will perform a case study of a crime that has occurred in Canada in the past 5 years. Using

what information you can find online (news websites, online records, government websites,

forums, youtube, etc), you will research a case of your choosing. You will then choose to take

the position of either prosecution or defence and describe how you believe the case should be

handled. Explain the events of the crime, whether you think the perpetrator is guilty or

innocent and why, and what verdict you believe should be reached. Be sure to explain your

choices based on what we have learned about Canada’s Court System and Criminal Code.

The case you choose must be approved by Ms. Mac before you begin to research it. You

will present your summary and arguments through either an oral presentation to the class or a

visual representation. You will also be required to hand in a 3 page write-up that will include a

brief summary of the case, a statement of position (prosecution or defence), and explanations

of your arguments and reasoning.

What to answer when writing about your case:

1. What type of offence does your chosen case involve? (regulatory, quasi-criminal, or

Criminal Code?)
2. How would you classify the offences involved in this crime? (refer to lesson on summary

conviction, hybrid, and indictable offences)

3. Have the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Criminal Code of Canada been followed

in your persecution/defence?

4. Who are the victims of the crime committed? Are they fairly compensated and understood

in your arguments?

5. What demographics are represented in your case?

6. Referring to the lesson on “Defences to Criminal Charges”, do any of these defences

change the prosecution of your case? (ex. alibi, self-defence, mental disorders, intoxication,

etc)


I chose to present the assessment OF learning unit project in this way to create an

effective and engaging assignment. In letting students choose a case that is relevant to Canada

and of specific interest to them, I hope to increase students’ level of engagement with in the

project. I chose to incorporate a balance between factual understanding and analytic

application to evaluate students’ lower levels of Bloom’s taxonomy but to also push them into

higher order thinking. Given that the Law 30 curriculum has not yet been updated, the

document is long and the foundational and learning outcomes are plentiful. Each of the seven

questions/guidelines I list corresponds to one of the “core learning outcomes” listed in the

curriculum, which must be taught in this criminal unit. By specifically listing these points of

understanding I can assess whether the students have grasped these core outcomes

individually. Below is a list of the outcomes that correlate to each of the seven guiding

questions in the assignment:

Question 1: Value Objective p. 75: “Appreciate the differences between criminal law, quasi-

criminal law, and regulatory offences.”

Question 2: Three Concepts and Knowledge Objectives on p. 112 require students to

understand these three offence classifications. “Summary Conviction Offences- Know that

summary condition offences include less serious crime tax carries a light penalty. The accused

may be tried in providing court without a jury or preliminary hearing. Hybrid or Dual

Offences- Know that hybrid or dual offences allow the prosecution to elect to proceed by way

of summary conviction or by way of indictment. Indictable Offences- Know that indictable


offences include serious crime that is subject to stiff penalties, and that is prosecuted using

the more formal set of criminal procedures including a preliminary inquiry and jury (if the

accused so chooses)…”

Question 3: Concepts and Knowledge Objective: p. 76 “ Know that procedural safeguards in

the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Criminal Code of Canada are designed to ensure

the equality of all individuals before the law.”

Question 4: Concepts and Knowledge Objective p. 82 & Values Objective p. 77

“ Know that the restorative model of the criminal justice system advocates:

• addressing the harm done to the victim and the community, instead of punishment

• restoring harmony to the life of the victim, the offender and the community through

restitution and reconciliation

• acceptance by the offender of the holistic context of the offence- morally, socially and

spiritually.

“Contemplate the impact of crime upon the victims of crime."

Question 5: Concepts and Knowledge Objectives p 86: “Know that in Canada, identifiable

patterns indicate a strong relationship between levels of convictions for criminal offences and

socio-economic factors, including poverty and lack of education.”

Question 6: All of the Concepts and Knowledge Objectives listed on p. 114 and 116 addressing

Defence, No criminal State of Mind, Automatism, Alibis, Self-Defence, Defence of Property,

and Mental Disorders, etc.


The assignment as a whole meets other outcomes such as the Skills/Abilities Objective p. 87:

“Apply inquiry skills including:

• acting upon their curiosity and interests

• developing questions

• thinking through controversies or dilemmas

• looking at problems analytically

• inquiring into preconceptions about what is already known

• developing, clarifying and testing hypotheses

• drawing inferences and generate possible solutions”

And others such as: “Apply writing skills to develop a position paper.” and “Use effective

reading skills to analyze expository data.”

Assessment as and for learning will consist of many in-class checks (thumbs up/

middle/down, for example) as well as in-class mini case studies throughout the term. Not only

will these mini case studies allow students to see many examples of how to research and

analyze a real-life criminal case, but will provide adequate exemplars as we will perform these

studies in larger groups without the necessity of numeric grades. Following the incorporation

of these mini case studies as well as the detailed outline for the unit project provided, I do

believe that any grade 11/12 students in my Law30 class would be able to fully understand and

meet the expectations of the assignment.


Differentiation for the project for students struggling to meet the deadlines could be

met by providing more time for the students. One-to-one work periods could also be arranged

with the classroom teacher for students who may require it. EAL students or students with

exceptionalities which may make the paper portion challenging, can be given an option for a

shorter write up (but still some written component) in combination with an oral telling of

their findings to the classroom teacher. Giving them the opportunity to orally express their

summary/position in combination with a shorter written piece can take the focus off of the

stress of syntax and grammar and more onto understanding the case and how to analyze its

components. Additional accommodations such as the use of scribes, EA’s, or research

assistants can be made for students who require such aid.

This older curriculum does not make reference of BAL’s or CCC’s specifically, but uses

different terminology to express similar goals in broadening students overall understandings

and abilities. This Criminal Law Unit of Law30 incorporates six “Common Essential

Learnings”; Communication (COM), critical and creative thinking (CCT), personal and social

values and skills (PSVS), independent learning (IL), numeracy (NUM), and technological

literacy (TL). The teacher rubric highlights these common essential learnings as they intersect

with the foundational learning objectives.

Attached is a rubric to be completed by the classroom teacher to determine whether or

not the outcomes have been met by the final product.


Rubric:

Target Not Beginni Approac Meetin Master


Present ng hing g y
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

Student demonstrates an
ability to research and gather
specific information regarding
crime. (COM, NUM, IL)
Student is able to apply
inquiry skills (IL, CCT, COM)
Student demonstrates an
ability to contemplate models
for addressing criminal
behaviours (PSVS, CCT)
Student is able to effectively
use electronic databases to
assist research activities (IL,
TL)
Totals
/20