By: Rachel Di Lena
The Criminal Code
The Criminal Code:
Is a federal statute that contains the majority of the criminal laws passed by
It lists offences and sentences that are being imposed as well as the procedures to follow when trying those accused of crimes. The code is meant to reflect the social values of the majority of Canadians.
Summary Conviction Offence: A crime that is considered less serious and carries a lighter penalty.
A summary conviction offence is a minor offence with a less severe penalty that more serious crimes. A person who is convicted of such a crime, could be fined up to $2000 and/or imprisoned for up to six months.
Summary conviction offences are tried in provincial court before a judge without a jury.
The Criminal Code states if the crime is classified as a summary conviction.
Indictable offence: A more serious crime that carries a heavier penalty.
An indictable offence is a more serious crime and carries a heavier penalty than a summary conviction offence.
The Criminal Code establishes maximum penalties for indictable offences, ranging from two years for committing a common nuisance up to life imprisonment for aggravated sexual assault.
The more serious indictable offences, such as murder and treason (s.469 of the code), must be tried in Superior Court.
Hybrid or dual procedure offence: An offence that the crown can try either as a summary or indictable offence.
Is one that the Crown can decide to try either as a summary conviction offence or an indictable offence.
The Criminal Code always makes it clear when an offence is hybrid by stating explicitly that it can be treated either on a summary or indictable basis.
Actus Reus: “the guilty act,” the voluntary action, omission, or state of being that is forbidden by the Criminal
If you with another person then hit that person, you have committed assault.
The Criminal Code defines the wrongful act clearly and precisely so we know exactly what the law prohibits.
Mens rea: A deliberate intention to commit a wrongful act, with reckless disregard for the consequences.
The term implies moral guilt—that the accused person deliberately did something he or she knew to be wrong, with reckless disregard for the consequences. Intent
Intent: A state of mind in which someone desires to carry out a wrongful action, knows what the results will be, and is reckless regarding the consequences
To say that a person had the intent to commit a criminal act means that he or she meant to do something wrong, was reckless regarding the consequences, and knew or should have foreseen the results of the wrongful act.
There are two kinds of intent in Canada. General
Intent, which means that when a person commits a wrongful act for its own sake, with no ulterior motive or purpose. Specific Intent, which applies when someone commits one wrongful act in order to accomplish another. Knowledge
Knowledge: An awareness of certain facts that can be used to establish mens rea.
In some cases, the Crown can establish mens rea by showing that the accused had knowledge of certain facts.
The word ‘knowing’ indicates the mens rea of this offence.
To establish guilt, the Crown only has to show that the accused knew the document he or she used was forged.
Recklessness: Consciously taking an unjustifiable risk that a reasonable person would not take.
The crown can also establish mens rea by proving that the accused demonstrated recklessness.
Recklessness involves consciously taking an unjustifiable risk that a reasonable person would not take.
Strict Liability Offences
Strict Liability Offences: Offences that do not require mens rea but to which the accused can offer the defence of due diligence.
The accused may acknowledge that the offence took place but then offer the defence of due