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Lecture 5

LAWS 2302 Reading Notes - Week 5.pdf

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Department
Law
Course
LAWS 2302
Professor
Paolo Giancaterino
Semester
Winter

Description
February  4  Chapter  5:  The  Fault  Element  or  Mens  Rea   • Each  crime  has  its  own  specific  fault  element  in  relation  to  the  specific   actus  reus   • In  Canada,  definition  is  not  consistent  b/c  “purposely”,  ”knowingly”,  ”recklessly”,  ”negligently”  is  not  clearly  defined   • Fault  Element  is  INFERRED   • References  in  the  Criminal  Code  to  carelessness,  dangerousness,  or  negligence  are  misleading  b/c  c ourts  require  a  proof  of   Marked  Departure  from  Standards  of  Reasonable  care  to  distinguish  criminal  from  civil  ligence   A. Conceptual  Considerations   • To  explain  Fault  Element  in  Crimes:   o 1:  Specify  the  Circumstances  and  Consequences  to  which  the  fault  elemen t  is  directed,  including  its  relation  to  the   actus  reus  of  the  offence   o 2:  Specify  the  precise  fault  element   § Ex:  In  murder  –  mens  rea  requires  at  least  subjective  knowledge  that  the  victim  would  die   • The  Relation  of  the  Fault  Element  to  the  Prohibited  Act   • Mens  Rea  is  concerned  with  the  consequences  of  the  prohibited  actus  reus  (McLauhlin)   • Fault  Element  should  extend  to  all  elements  of  the  prohibited  act   • In  Creighton:   o “Absolute  symmetry  between  actus  reus,  mens  rea,  and  constitutional  requirements  of  the   charter  is  IDEAL”   however  “I  know  of  no  authority  for  the  proposition  that  the  mens  rea  of  an  offense  must  always  attach  to  the   precise  consequence  which  is  prohibited”   o Therefore,  objective  foresight  of  the  risk  of  bodily  harm  was  a  sufficient  fault  elemen t  for  manslaughter   • Offenses  that  do  not  require  a  fault  element  in  relation  to  all  aspects  of  actus  reus  are  called:   o Offenses  of  partial  intent   o Constructive  crimes   o Crimes  based  on  predicate  offences   • Other  offenses  require  a  mens  rea  that  extends  beyond  the  commission  of  the  actus  reus   o Ex.  An  attempt  at  a  crime  means  the  mens  rea  goes  beyond  the  actus  reus,  for  the  purpose  of  actually  committing   the  crime  there  must  be  an  intent  to  do  so   o These  are  called  ulterior  intent  offences,  because  they  require  an  inte nt  beyond  the  actus  reus      that  is  committed   • Subjective  and  Objective  Fault  Elements   • Subjective:  Requires  crown  to  establish  that  the  accused  subjectively  had  the  required  guilty  knowledge  in  relation  to  the   specific  circumstances  or  consequences   o Subjective  Mens  Rea  acts  as  a  doctrine  that  prevents  the  conviction  of  someone  who  is  incapable  of  knowledge  and   foresight  that  a  “reasonable  person”  would  have  (mental  illness)   • Objective:  Requires  only  that  a  reasonable  person  in  the  accused  position  would  have  ha d  the  required  guilty  knowledge  or   would  have  acted  differently   • Mens  Rea  measures  the  mental  state  for  intent  and  knowledge  etc,  however  NEGLIGENCE  measures  the  conduct  of  the   accused  on  the  basis  of  objective  standard,  so  the  question  becomes  whether  they  exercised  reasonable  care   o Dealing  with  the  “reasonable  person”   • People  are  assumed  to  be  able  to  foresee  the  consequences  of  their  acts,  therefore  if  they  act  to  produce  a  certain  outcome   they  should  be  able  to  foresee  the  consequences   • Read  pg  167  and  169***   • Common  Law  Presumptions  of  Mens  Rea  *   • Before  Charter,  Supreme  court  always  assumed  crime  would  need  subjective  mens  rea   o So  even  if  you  didn’t  know  a  pack  of  flour  was  actually  heroin,  you  were  subjected  to  punishment  because  you   knew  you  had  it  but  didn’t  know  what  it  really  was   • You  are  still  guilty  of  statutory  rape  even  if  you  genuinely  thought  the  other  person  was  older  than  the  minimum  age   • Common  law  presumptions  require  Parliament  to  clearly  state  when  it  does  not  
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