Chapter 3: Criminal Law Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 3: Criminal Law Deck (27)
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Definition: Crime

conduct prohibited by law and subject to penal sanction (from Latin "crimen": accusation)


Definition: Criminal law

A body of jurisprudence that includes the !definition of various crimes, the specifications of the various penalties, a set of general principles concerning criminal responsibility, and a series of defenses to criminal charge


The sources of criminal law (5)

1) Case law/common law
2) Constitution/constitutional law
3) Statutes/statutory law
4) Administrative law
5) International law
All under the jurisdiction of the federal parliament.


Definition: Case law

Precedent is followed. If the supreme court passes judgment then all others below must follow that judgment. Only the parliament can pass laws that challenge the Supreme Court.


3 key Ingredients for Criminal Law

1) Must prohibit a certain conduct
2) Must impose a certain penalty for the prohibited conduct
3) Must be directed against a "public evil"


Substantive Criminal law (Criminal Code1)

legislation that defines the nature of various criminal offenses, and specifies legal elements that must be present for conviction


Criminal Procedure (criminal code2)

specifies procedures following a criminal case and defines the nature and scope of the powers of criminal justice figures


Types of Criminal offences (3)

1) Indictable offences (most serious): murder, kidnapping, drugs, terrorism etc.
2) Summary conviction offences: possession of marijuana under 30 grams, solicitation of a prostitute
3) Mixed/hybrid offences: can be either of the two, including: assault, sexual assault, theft under 5k etc.


Regulatory Legislation

can be done by both federal and provincial and is not quite criminal law because it lacks the necessary element of "public evil" (ie. health, education, highways, liquor control etc.)


Definition: True Crime

behavior that is prohibited and seen as a serious breach of community values; perceived as inherently wrong and deserving of punishment. Can only be enacted by parliament of Canada


Definition: Regulatory Offences

arise under legislation that regulates inherently legitimate activities connected with trade, commerce and industry. not considered very serious (only actus reus elements, means they are strict liability offences)


Definition: Actus Reus

all elements contained in the definition of a criminal offence other than mental elements


Elements of Actus Reus

1) Conduct: voluntary act or omission
2) Surrounding or "material" circumstances, ie. consent
3) Consequences
It can be based on inaction if there is a pre-existing duty to act


Definition: Mens Rea

the mental elements (other than voluntariness) contained in the definition of a criminal offence. Must prove Mens Rea for each of the elements of Actus Reus


Subjective Mens Rea

based on a determination of "what actually went on in the accused persons mind." This includes: intention & knowledge, recklessness and willful blindness (more serious crimes based on this one)


Objective Mens Rea

based on a determination of whether a reasonable person, in the same circumstances & with the same knowledge as the accused would have realized the risk involved in the conduct and taken steps to avoid the commission of the actus reus elements of the crime


Definition: Party to a Crime

one can be convicted if one commits, aids or abets, or counsels the commission of an offence committed by someone else


Definition: Inchoate Crime

a criminal offence committed when the accused person seeks to bring about the commission of a particular crime but is not successful


3 Types of Inchoate Crimes

1) Counselling an offence: procuring, soliciting or inciting others to commit a crime
2) Criminal Attempt: anything done for the purpose of carrying out a previously formed intention to commit a crime (must be a substantial step)
3) Conspiracy: An agreement by 2 or more individuals to commit a criminal offence (must prove both)


Defence: Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD)

lacked the capacity to appreciate nature or quality of the act, or to know it would be morally wrong, because of a mental disorder (not an acquittal & very rare)


Defence: Mistake of Fact

a person acts under the influence of an honest mistake in relation to any of the actus reus elements of the offence charged (not valid for sexual assault & can't claim to be ignorant of the law)


Defence: Intoxication

intoxication that prevents the accused from forming the intent required for a specific intent offence such as murder or robbery (not for "basic intent" things (vandalism), just "specific" (murder))


Defence: Necessity

accused commits lesser evil of a crime to avoid greater (doesn't work for murder)


Defence: Duress

forced to commit a crime as a result of threats (no way out)


Defence: Provocation

(murder only) reduce murder to manslaughter.
1) Must have responded like a reasonable person would
2) Must have acted suddenly


Defence: Self Defence

may use reasonable (proportionate) amount of force in self defence if there is force or threat against them


Minimum Age Criminally Responsible (MACR)

It is 12 in Canada which is in line with the UN standards. Lowest are India & Nigeria (7). Highest is Peru (18)