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SOC 1500 Sept 13 2011 Lecture Note (F11)

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SOC 1500
Alexander Shvarts

SOC 1500 Tuesday, September 13, 2011 Lecture 1 Continued The Sources of Criminal Law - Two primary sources of Canadian Criminal Law: 2. Federal Legislation and Criminal Law: (a) Criminal law - Federal Parliament (b) Substantive criminal law (c) Criminal procedure (d) Criminal Code classifies offences into three categories: (i) indictable offences – more than $2000, more than 6 mo in jail; (ii) summary offences – less than 6 mo in jail, less than $2000; and (iii) “mixed” or “hybrid” offences - Federal and Provincial or Territorial Regulatory Legislation - Quasi-Criminal - Law: Provincial and territorial legislatures The Legal Elements of a Crime - Actus reus (Physical element of a crime): Must be shown that an event was ‘caused’ by the accused person’s conduct – consists of: - How do you prove a stabbing? (a) conduct - ex. You have to prove that there was in fact a stabbing – witnesses, etc. (b) circumstances – ex. Have to make sure the force was applied without the victims consent (c) consequences – ex. Was it an attempt or was there actual bodily harm? Physical evidence? - Example of Actus reus: Assault Causing Bodily Harm - Conduct – accused applied force to the victim - Circumstances – force was applied without the consent of the victim - Consequences – the force caused bodily harm The Legal Elements of a Crime - Mens rea: refers to the mental element of a crime – refers to intent 1) Objective: Persons should be convicted if a reasonable person would have appreciated the risk involved and avoided the act – not used for serious crimes such as murder that require proof of subjective mens rea – ex. Woman goes to court, she is on trial for stabbing someone, she claims it is self defense – how do they determine if it was self defense? – go back to the liberation room and reenact the situation 2) Subjective: three forms – (a) intention and knowledge, (b) recklessness, (c) willful blindness: - In those circumstances, did they intend to do it? - Accused should not be convicted unless: - They deliberately intended the consequences – did they deliberately intend to stab someone? - They subjectively realized these consequences might occur - They were willfully blind to the consequences – Knew what he was doing, planned it and showed no consequences Counting Crime - Reliability (make sure that if someone uses the same measure as you, they should find the same results) and Validity (Is the measure that you’re using good for what you’re trying to measure? Is it a valid measure? – ex. Using official statistics to count woman who have been sexually assaulted – not valid because approx.. 42% of women do not report) - Police statistics: Weaknesses in police statistics - different police departments use different procedures; individual officers have discretion and do not record crimes consistently; not all those arrested are guilty; the majority of crimes are never reported to the police – Different departments focus on different crimes – Police may arrest a lot of people, but are all these people guilty? - Correctional (Prison) Statistics: Reflect official decisions more than actual crime patterns (prisoners are not a representative sample of criminals) - Very good measures of what is going on in jail – ex. How many women vs. men in jail, age groups, ethnic groups, religious groups etc. - Prison population increased 3x in the last 60 years – does that mean crime increased? Not necessarily. – have to look at population increase as a whole, laws have changed since then How Much Crime? 1. Official Statistics: Canadian Uniform Crime Reports - What can the Canadian UCR tell us – Statistics: Crime rates have approximately tripled from the 1960’s to late 90’s, crime rate has declined since the late 1990’s by about 20%; violent crime was increasing from the early 1960’s to late 90’s, violent crime SINCE the 1990’s has stabilized; property crime increases 1960’s-1980’s, property crime rate in 2002 is as low as its been in 30 years; violent crimes in Canada – less than 10% of the crime rate in Canada – out of that % 1% is homicide. - UCR Categories and the Most Serious Offence Rule: According to official stats we classify crimes when we have several crimes happening at the same time; rule: for every violent crime, you count 1 for every victim; for prop. Crime, you count 1 for every separate occurrence. ex. 3pm someone breaks into home and assaults 3 people in the house and steals jewelry. How many crimes have occurred in this house according to official statistics – 5. How do
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