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LS101 – Oct.24.doc

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Legal Studies
LS 101
Frances Chapman

LS101 – Oct.24 24/10/2007 20:01:00 ← ← AUTOMATISM • Most definitions came from a single case, R. v. Stone • When an individual commits a crime like an automaton (not voluntarily at all) • Common law ← 5 conditions ← 1) Normal conditions – R. v. Parks • killed his mother-in-law, severely injured his father-in-law • claimed automatism (was a chronic sleepwalker) and was acquitted • doing something over which you have no control ← 2) External trauma – R. v. Bleta (1955) • Bleta was in a fight with someone – fell, hit his head, got up and stabbed his opponent to death • Bleta was acquitted ← 3) Involuntary intoxication – R. v. King • had a bad reaction from anesthetics at the dentist • did not recall the dentist telling him he could not drive and then had an extremely bad accident • King was acquitted – claims to not remember getting into the car and driving ← ← 4) Self-induced intoxication – R. v. Penno/Daviault • not successful • Penno claims to not remember getting into the car because he was so drunk - not a legitimate use of automotism • Daviault raped an elderly woman when severely intoxicated – Parliament said this could not be a defence • Cannot use self-induced automatism if it involves an assault or violent act involving another person • Critics say there will be a challenge to this, because self-intoxicated people are NOT acting voluntarily – completely out of their heads ← 5) Mental Disorder – R. v. Stone • amnesia is NOT automatism • Stone was in a car with his wife who began to nag him about the problem in their marriage – his sexual prowess, genitalia etc. • Felt a ‘whoosh’ come over him and woke up to find his wife stabbed 47 times • Claimed a ‘psychological blow’ • Court did not acquit Stone – a reasonable person would not have suffered a ‘psychological blow’ from that situation (possibly from seeing a family member die etc.) ← ← NECESSITY • Main difference between necessity and duress is that duress is a threat by a person and necessity is the situation itself • Common law (not statutory) • Most famous case is Dudley and Stephens (1884) o Shipwreck which 4 people survived o Cabin boy (about 14 years old) was not doing so well and 3 other members on board cannibalized him o If they had not cannibalized him, the 3 other members would not have survived until rescue (which was a few days later) o Court were not going to ‘open the floodgates’ – therefore, could not rationalize killing another person o The three people were sentenced to death – however it was commuted after 6 months • Canadian equivalent is R. v. Perka – “botanical defence” o Charged with trafficking narcotics o Picked up a boatload of marijuana in South America – on their way to Alaska they came across a terrible storm and threw the marijuana overboard and abandoned the ship (washed up onshore in BC) o Canadian authorities caught them from the marijuana that was also washing up onshore o They claimed they were not going to sell the marijuana on Canadian soil – were heading to Alaska (defence 1) o Defence 2 – they claimed that their marijuana was a certain type that was not illegal in Canada (the evidence disappeared when the case came to trial) o Court said that necessity has 3 elements: 1) Imminent peril 2) No reasonable alternative 3) Proportionality o Perka failed because they were other legal options that the people onboard could have taken • R. v. Latimer o Killed his severely disabled 14-year-old daughter, who was suffering from cerebral palsy o Found guilty because neither Latimer nor his daughter were in immediate peril (not a proportional response to what she was going through to end her life) o Were other legal options he could have taken • Court has been sure to keep the definition extremely narrow so as not to ‘open the floodgates’ ← ← PROVOCATION • S.232 • Take
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