WDW225 Lecture 6

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Woodsworth College Courses
Jim Davies

WDW225 Lecture #6 10/25/2012 Introduction to Mens Rea Recap Actus Reus - Must be voluntary o Involuntary or acting in a state of automatism o non-insane automatism vs. insane automatism - Defined in the Criminal Code o Read the provision - Always involves an act or omission o Omission requires a legal duty to act - May involve a specified consequence o Causation = factual and legal causation o Factual causation = contributory cause that is beyond de minimis o Legal cause = no break in the chain of causation by an intervening act or remoteness - May involve a specified circumstance o consent can be vitiated (deemed invalid) by (a) fraud (b) social policy -- fighting, unconscious sex Causation R. v. Pagett (1983, U.K.) FACTS: Pagett used girl as a “human shield” after he shot police; police shot at him but killed the girl; Pagett was charged with her murder ISSUE: when do the actions of a 3 party break the chain of causation? RULING: intervening act must be “voluntary and culpable” to break the chain of causation - self defence does not break the chain - acts in performance of duty do not break the chain but for his action, the girl would haven never been shot Mens Rea Who theory and system that is based on our justice system WHAT IS MENS REA? o actus non facit reum nisi sit rea (an act does not become guilty unless the mind is guilty) Theories of punishment premised on intent o Retribution, o General deterrence, o People are deterred for the choices they made o Rehabilitation o We don’t punish them unless we have corresponding intents - Mens rea depends on the actus reus. o NOT necessarily set out in the Criminal Code o Must have a corresponding mens rea - Mens rea requires: o mens rea with regard to the act/omission o mens rea with regard to the circumstances o mens rea with regard to the consequences EXAMPLES: 265(1) a person commits an assault when (a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly intentional application of force knowledge of the lack of consent What makes it a crime is the intentional application of force and the knowledge of the lack of consent In assault there is 4 elements 2 actus reas, 2 mens reas EXAMPLE: participating in the activities of a terrorist group 83.18 (1) Every one who knowingly participates in or contributes to, directly or indirectly, any activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of any terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years. knowledge of the existence of terrorist group intention to assist Mens rea can either be subjective or objective - SUBJECTIVE mens rea requires that the accused actually intend or know the consequences and acts purposely o varying levels of subjective mens rea o the crown has to prove what was in the accused mind at the time of the committed act - OBJECTIVE mens rea looks at what the accused would have known/understood o a reasonable person in the circumstance would have known, would have intended, w ould have appreciated the consequences PROBLEM: how to prove/disprove mens rea (objective or subjective)?  reasonable inference from words of the accused  reasonable inference from actions of the accused  testimony of the accused – accepted or rejected If mens rea is subjective, can still be proven by reference to reasonable (objective) inference from the evidence DO NOT CONFUSE OBJECTIVE MENS REA WITH HOW TO PROVE MENS REA R. v. Steane (1947, Eng. C.A.) FACTS: charged with acts likely to assist the enemy with the intent to assist
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