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Lecture 5

SOCI-225 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Methamphetamine, Abet, Regulatory Offence

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Basic elements of crime: actus reus and mens rea
Prosecution must prove 1) particular event was caused by the accused conduct (actus reus) and
2) that his conduct was accompanied by a state of mind (mens rea)
-actus reus: all the elements contained in the definition of a criminal offence EXCEPT FOR the
mental elements
1)conduct: a voluntary act constituting a crime 2)the surrounding material or circumstances 3)
the outcome/consequences
Ie for assault must prove: 1)accussed applied force (conduct) 2)force was applied
without consent (circumstances) and 3) force caused harm whether physical or mental
-consequences not reqd for all crimes: ie perjury: even if no one is harmed by lying on the
stand, you can be charged
-other crimes do not require conduct: ie being in possession of tools for break and enter
ithout good reaso a result i harges; a perso does’t atually hae to e aught i the
act (a preventative attempt)
-omission or failure to act constitutes crime when there is a legal duty to act: ie duty of parent
to provide child with basic necessities; no duty to rescue a stranger in danger, but exists with
certain relationships: ie a child, officer of the jail of an assaulted inmate, lifeguard, etc
-actus reus requires voluntary action: ie if a person has a seizure and causes a car accident they
are not considered in control
Defese of autoatis diffiult to proe: ie the “toe ase, a laied to e ot osious
in stabbing his wife due to the psychological harm she had inflicted with insults. Requires
DEFENDANT to prove a state of non consciousness so that because they are unaware of what
they are doing they are not responsible.
Mens rea: the mental elements other than voluntariness contained in defining a criminal
offence; crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a criminal charge
-mens rea shifts between charges (ie murder versus theft); requires that the person be morally
blameworthy to be charged with a crime (a guilty mind/intention/not those who are incapable
of understanding)
Subjective mens rea: intention and knowledge, recklessness, wilful blindness. Emphasis
on deliberate choice
-a)deliberately intended to bring about harm b)subjectively realized their action might
result in harm and recklessly chose to continue c) or were wilfully blind to the obvious
criminality of their actions
Ex: incestdid the person know they were related or first degree murder: the person
planned, deliberate action (as compared to second degree where they acted impulsively and
did not plan the event or premeditate)
-recklessness: ie arson: knows that the act could cause harm and proceeds anyway even
if they did not desire harm to occur
-willfull blindness: ie one does not question whether the sports car they have received is
stolen, even though they know the price is too good to be legitimate
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