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Criminal Unit

Law 2
▶ Chapter 4 Criminal Law and Criminal Offences
▶ Chapter 5 The Criminal Code
▶ Chapter 6 Drug Use, Drinking and Driving
▶ Chapter 7 Bringing the Accused to Trial
▶ Chapter 8 Trial Procedures
▶ Chapter 9 From Sentencing to Release
▶ Chapter 10 The Youth Justice System
Chapter Four-Criminal Law and Criminal
▶ What is crime?
▶ What is the difference between summary and
indictable offences?
▶ What elements or conditions must exist for an action
to be considered a crime?
▶ What criminal courts exist to interpret and apply the
▶ How are crimes handled in the court?
4.1 Introduction
The law exists to protect society and individuals and
keep order.
The Need for Criminal Law

Criminal Law helps keep order in society. Penalties for

crimes help to deter people from committing crimes.
Criminal law emphasizes prevention and penalties. It
does not place much emphasis on compensating
victims for the losses suffered because of a crime.
4.2 The Nature of Criminal Law
Parliament decides what is crime and regularly passes
laws to change the criminal code. The code reflects
the values of society by declaring certain action as

Can you think of a law that has changed because of our

changing attitude?
Criminal Actions
We all have our own opinions and beliefs, therefore,
there may be much debate about certain actions
should or shouldn't be considered criminal.
abortion, euthanasia, gun control, marijuana

Debates help determine if changes to the Criminal Code

are necessary.
Certain conditions must exist for an act to
be subject to criminal penalties.

1. The action must harm other people.

2. The action must violate the basic values of society.
3. Using the law to deal with the action must not
violate the basic values of society.
4. Criminal law can make a significant contribution to
resolving the problem.
4.3 The Power to Make Criminal Law

▶ Criminal law is a federal jurisdiction , the provinces

gave that control to the federal government in 1867.
▶ Quasi-Criminal Law -passed by provinces, such as
the Highway Traffic Act, result in fines.
▶ The Criminal Code – the main source of criminal law
in Canada, it describes offences considered to be
crimes as well as punishments for those crimes
4.4 Types of Criminal Offences
Summary Conviction Offences
-minor offences
-persons accused of these offences can be arrested and
summoned to court without delay
-maximum penalty, $2000 and/or 6 months in jail
4.4 Types of Criminal Offences
Indictable Offences
-serious crimes
-up to life imprisonment
-trial judge sets penalty
-some have minimum penalties
4.4 Types of Criminal Offences
Hybrid Offences
-crown attorney has the right to proceed and impose a
less severe punishment
-thief is an example because it depends on the value of
what was taken
4.5 The Elements of a Crime
▶ Two conditions must exist for an act to be considered
a criminal offence
1. Actus reus- “a wrongful deed”
2. Mens rea- “a guilty mind”

These two conditions must be present at the same time

and must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
ctus Reus
▶ The Criminal Code explains what must occur for an act
to be considered a crime.

◦ Example: section 348 clearly states that 2 actions must

occur during a break and enter for a wrongful deed
(actus reus) The first is the break in and the second is
the entry.
Mens Rea
▶ The second condition must exist for the act to be
considered a crime. Mens Rea exists if the offence is
committed with (1) intent or knowledge, or (2)
Intent or Knowledge
▶ Intent is the purpose of the act. It is based on the
facts and on what a reasonable person would be
thinking under the circumstances.
▶ Specific Intent exists when a person commits an
offence with further criminal purpose in mind
(growing drugs to sell)
▶ The reason a person commits an offence is called the
motive. It is not the same as intent, and does not
establish the guilt of the accused. A person can have
motive and not commit an offence.
▶ Careless disregard for others, no intent or motive is
present, but actions has caused damage. Example-
speeding, drinking and driving
Offences without Mens Rea
▶ Violations of provincial or federal regulations passed
to protect the public.
1. Strict liability offences, crown does not have to prove
mens rea, just that an offence took place, the
defence can be due diligence ( precaution was taken)
2. Absolute liability, similar to strict but have no
defence, if actus reus took place he or she is guilty

The court decide where the liability falls

▶ A person is guilty of a criminal act even if they fail to
complete the act. The actus reus for the crime begins
as soon as they take the first step towards the crime.
The judge and jury decide when the preparation ends
and the attempt begins.
▶ An agreement between two or more people to
commit a crime is called conspiracy.
4.6 Parties to an Offence
▶ A person who commits an offence, aids a person to
commit an offence, or abets (helps) a person in
committing an offence is defines as a party to a crime
under section 21 of the Criminal Code
Aiding or Abetting
▶ Aiding means “helping”
▶ Abetting means “encouraging”

2 things need to be proven before an accused can be

1. The accused has the knowledge that the other
person intended to commit the crime
2. The accused actually helped or encouraged the
person to commit the crime
Accessory after the fact
▶ Someone who helps a criminal escape detention or
capture is an accessory. That includes providing food,
clothing or shelter
▶ The only exception is a married couple cannot be
charged with accessory
Our Criminal Court System
Criminal Offences and Procedures
Summary and Minor Indictable Offences and Procedures
-six month limitation for laying of a summary conviction
-for some quasi-criminal offences a court appearance
isn’t necessary
Indictable Offences Procedures
-no time limit
-accused can chose judge or jury