CRM 2300 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Criminal Negligence, Asthma, Hogtie

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9 Feb 2016
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Lecture 6—Monday, February 1, 2016:
Causation
Causation is an element of Actus Reus, and is the link between conduct and
consequences.
Causation comes into argument when there may be more than one accused, or when
intervening factors are brought into the matter.
The crown is to establish the causal link between the conduct and the consequences
They must answer the question “but for”.
R.v. Trotta (2004)
Trotta would assault his 8 month old child on occasion, and on one particular evening he
shook the hell out of the baby. The baby stopped responding, so the parents took it to the
hospital, but the baby was dead.
The wife certainly did nothing to prevent the actions of her husband. That’s certainly a
matter of criminal negligence (but we’ll talk about that later).
The “but for” of the situation was, would the baby have died were it not for the actions of
the father?
R.v. Nette (2001)
Factual Causation and Legal Causation were borne of this case.
Factual causation refers to the facts of how the victim came about to his or her death
Legal causation refers to whether or not the accused should be held responsible in the yes
of the law for the death that had occurred.
For factual causation, the crown must prove that “but for” the accused’s conduct, the
prohibited consequences would never have occurred.
Factual causation is relatively easy to prove, and it can be determined by scientific,
medical, mechanical and expert evidence.
When we talk about the conduct, we refer to the means of force used by the accused.
For Legal Causation, the conduct should be considered blameworthy to warrant criminal
punishment.
Then we come across the matter of foreseeability. Are the consequences of the accused’s
actions foreseeable?
R.v. Thrakas (2008)
So somebody steals Thraka’s sports bike, and he goes on a bit of a rampage and drives his
car out and about. He also calls the cops prior to to let them know he’s about to be doing
some road rage. During a high speed chase, Thrakas hit and killed a police officer who
was standing outside of his vehicle on the highway, but it was at this particular point in
time that he was driving at normal speeds. He was later caught and charged with criminal
negligence causing death.
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