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Lecture

WDW101Y1 Lecture Notes - Australian Council Of Trade Unions, Good Samaritan Law, Actus Reus


Department
Woodsworth College Courses
Course Code
WDW101Y1
Professor
David Davies

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Thursday October 21st 2010
Lecture 5: Actus Reus III
EVERY CRIMINAL OFFENCE HAS:
ACTUS REUS + MENS REA - actus is the physical mens is the intent
(physical element) + (mental element)- not every OFFENCE has bothonly criminal offences
criminal act + criminal intent
Actus Reus
set out in the Criminal Code - involves a physical act or positive act or a failure to actmay
specify a particular consequencealso a set of circumstances, looked at anti-terrorism last
weeksexual assault -
involves an act or omission every actus reus in order to be foundit has to be voluntary,
minimum cognitive functioning to be found that you committed it
may involve a specified consequence (causation)
may involve a specific circumstances (lack of consent)
must be voluntary
Recap Automatism: insane vs. non-insane automatism (another name for the notion that actus is
INVOLUNTARY)
Distinction is super importantif its non-insane they are acquitted, if on the other hand its found
that the automatism is INSANE then youre found not guilty on account of a mental illness or MCR,
ongoing potentially never-ending surveillance
1) Insane Automatism
-Disease of the mind” – not purely a medical decision
-legal, policy and medical elements (exemption from liability; protection of the public)
-Malfunctioning that is internal to the accused
-Results = “not criminally responsible on account of a mental illness(s. 16) = ongoing
supervision
2) Non-Insane Automatism
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-External cause
-Transient disturbance of consciousness
-Results = not guilty
-actus reus not voluntary
Automatism
R. v. Parks
FACTS: drove 23 km to his in-laws house; attacked and killed his mother-in-law; seriously injured
his father-in-law; charged with murder and attempted murder; evidence established he was sleep-
walking at the time; evidence established that people who are sleepwalking cannotthink, reflect or
perform voluntary acts
R. v. Parks
ISSUE: should the jury have been left to decide between insane and non-insane automatism? -
ANSWERthere was no evidence that condition was the product of a disease of the mind; only
non-insane automatism was available
Case law and rules are constantly evolving fact that your sleep walking isn’t a product of a mental
illness, so acting involuntary and acquitted
R. v. Parks
SCC confirmed that voluntariness is part of the ARburden on the Crown to prove significant
because of what i said about offences NOT requiring mens rea, if you put the idea of voluntarines
into the mens rea analysis it wouldnt be availableCanada doesn’t want to punish people who are
acting involuntarily, so it has to be in the actus reus side, by keeping it a aprt of the ACTUS be
voluntarily, they have kept the argument for offence available
Defining a “disease of the mind
(a) Consider medical evidencedoesnt really work, while it is relevant thats not the end of
the equation because this has a lot of consequences socially and don’t want to just leave it to doctors
+ is there some ongoing danger? That the courts need to have ongoing surveillance
(b) legal/policy considerations?
- Internal vs. external causes
- continuing danger
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- Risk of recurrence
12:33....
R. v. Stone (1999, S.C.C.)
Stabbed his wife 47 times; she insulted him; he felt a “woosh”; when he focussed again, she
had been stabbed
Two step approach
(1) did the accused act involuntarily?(automatism) and if so non-insane or insane automatism?
burden on the accused (balance of probabilities)
(2) Is it insane or non-insane automatism?
presumption that it is a disease of the mind (BIG change from Parks and Rabey)
Holistic test : does society require ongoing protection from the accused? (internal/external,
continuing anger, policy considerations, reasonableness of response)
Supreme court created a 2 part test:
1st : step is FOR THE ACCUSED PERSON TO ESTABLISH THAT THEY WERE ACTING
INVOLUNTARY more likely than notthat it wasn’t the product of a conscious operating mind
2nd : now that you have established that it was INVOLUNTARY, turn to the question of INSANE or
NOT, heres the BIG CHANGE IN THE LAW = IT WILL BE PRESUMED THAT IF YOU ACT
INVOLUNTARY IT IS A DISEASE OF THE MIND!!! So you END UP IN THE INSANE
AUTOMATISM UNLESS YOU CAN ESTABLISH THAT YOU SHOULD NOT BE IN THAT
CATEGORY
(side note: difference between internal and external = Whether or not the cause of your automatic
state is an INTERNAL pathology or an EXTERNAL cause! like being offended= external / or
internal sleep-walking)
The guy had insane automatism because he couldnt explain it
R. v. Luedecke (2008, Ont. C.A.)
FACTS: admitted he had non-consensual sex with the complainant; claimed he was asleep at
the time; had a history of engaging in sexual activity while asleep
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