Canadian Criminal Law System


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An introduction to the Canadian Criminal Law System

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Canadian Criminal Law System

  1. 1. Criminal Law
  2. 2. Criminal Law Parliament decides what a crime is and regularly passes laws to change the Criminal Code. At any given time, the criminal code should reflect the values of society by declaring certain actions to be criminal Examples: Impaired Driving, Abortion
  3. 3. Criminal Law in Canada: An Overview criminal cases are part of public law criminal cases involve a prosecution by the Crown (the Queen) for violations of a public law or statute  e.g. Criminal Code in criminal cases, the Crown is acting on behalf of society person charged is called the Accused an accused can be found guilty or acquitted by the court if guilty, judge will sentence or penalize criminal offences can be either:  summary (minor) or  indictable (serious)
  4. 4. Elements of CrimeThe Physical Element The Mental ElementActus Reus Mens Rea(the guilty action) (the guilty mind) Actions or omission or  Intent state of being  Recklessness Circumstance  Knowledge Wrongful deed  Reasoning of Mind
  5. 5. The “Equation” of A CrimeACTUS REUS + MENS REA = Crime
  6. 6. Types of OffencesSummary Conviction Offence Minor criminal offences The maximum penalty for individuals charged with summary offences is $2000.00 and/or six months in jailExample: Mischief would be considered a summary offence depending on the severity of the action. Mischief is the deliberate destruction of, or damage to property; also interference with the lawful use of enjoyment of property.
  7. 7. Types of OffencesIndictable Conviction Offences Serious crimes that carry more severe penalties than summary convictions offences. The maximum penalty for individuals charged with indictable offence is life imprisonment. It is up to the trial judge to decide what exactly what type of penalty the accused will receive. some offences carry a minimum fine that a judge must impose  For Example: Impaired driving carries a minimum fine of $600 and a maximum of five years in prison.
  8. 8. Criminal Code Assault  265. (1) A person commits an assault when  (a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;  (b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or  (c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs. Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm  267. Every one who, in committing an assault,  (a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof, or  (b) causes bodily harm to the complainant,  is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.
  9. 9. Bertuzzi standard taints justice Source: The Toronto Star: May 31, 2007A great many troubling messages were sent Monday by a New Brunswick court in applying the "Bertuzzi standard"in a hockey assault case involving two teenage girls.Because the NHLs notorious Todd Bertuzzi attack on Steve Moore happened on the ice in a highly charged gameenvironment, some believe it didnt constitute a genuine assault.Now that this rationale is being applied in the case of an 18-year-old woman hockey player who assaulted a 15-year-old opponent, Canadians should be worried about a different standard of justice for the local hockey rink.In 2004, Bertuzzi, then of the Vancouver Canucks, set a new low for goon hockey when he attacked Moore, amember of the rival Colorado Avalanche. Bertuzzi pleaded guilty to assault and received a token conditionaldischarge and 80 hours of community service.So when a New Brunswick judge was faced with the task of having to pass sentence on Annick Noel for deliberatelycross-checking Marie-Claude Bertrand in the stomach as she celebrated scoring a goal, he said his hands were tied.Although Bertrand suffered a lacerated spleen from the attack, resulting in surgery and a 12-day hospital stay, theprecedent was set.Noel received a conditional sentence, which will clear her record after six months of good behaviour and 40 hourscommunity service.It is bad enough that the Bertuzzi sentence was feather-light, but to have the same standard applied to minor hockeyis absurd.It is, perhaps, a reasonable argument that when stepping on the ice, Moore had reason to expect that he would be hit.Surely, however, it is unreasonable to place that same standard on Bertrand, who was playing what was designed tobe non-contact minor hockey.Will it now be right to assume the same expectations will apply to all levels of minor hockey? Would it apply to non-contact beer leagues?The arena is not some legal no mans land. Just because an assault happens on the ice doesnt make it less of anassault. People deserve to feel safe, whether its in their homes, on the street, or on the ice.Prosecutors and judges should find ways to deliver stronger sentences and a much clearer message that violencemustnt be condoned.