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LAWS2302F_Criminal Law_Roger Rickwood_Winter 2011( Entire Class Notes, Very Useful)

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LAWS 2302
Roger Rickwood

Criminal Law What is a CrimeA crime occurs when a personcorporationo Commits and act or fails to commit an act when under a legal responsibility to do to o Has the intent or mens rae to commit the actWithout intent can still be a regulatory offences fines makeup most of offenders o Does not have a legal defence or justification for committing the act and o Violates a provision in the criminal lawThe actual commission of an act is called actus raus and the mental element of an offence is called mens raeThis is the intention to commit a crimeIt is NOT a motive only important when sentencingYou will often hear a discussion of motive in crimes showsThis is irrelevant as to whether a crime has been committedShowing motive could showwhy a person may have the intent to commit an offence but movie does not have to be provided in court Criminal LegislationCriminal law is strictly within the jurisdiction of the federal governmentThat means that only the federal government can pass criminal lawMost of the criminal laws are in the Criminal Code of CanadaHowever there are other federal pieces of legislation such as the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act which contain criminal chargesPolice and Crowns utilize criminal procedures in the Criminal CodeThis is different to the USA where each state passes its own criminal lawThus something can be a crime in New York State but not in CaliforniaThis cannot occur in CanadaCriminal law is the same right across the countryThe federal government of the USA also can pass criminal lawTo deal with young people the federal government has also passed the Youth Criminal Justice ActThis used to be the Young Offenders Act and before that we had the Jeuvenile Delinquents ActA young person can be charged with any offence under the Criminal CodeHowever the procedure with respect to the young person is governed by the Youth Criminal Justice Act QuasiCriminal LawQuasi Criminal Laws are those that can be passed by the provincial courts as well as federal governmentThese include laws such as the Highway Traffic Act and the Environmental Protection ActPeople can be charged under provincial laws and if convicted can be sentenced to imprisonmentTypes of Criminal OffensesThree types of criminal offenses in Canada 1 Summary Conviction offensesThese are less serious offensesThey are heard only in provincial courtsThere is a limitation period of 6 monthsThat means a person must be charged 20005000 within 6 monthsThe maximum penalty is 6 months in jail or 5000 charge 2 Indictable offensesThese are serious offensesThe trials can be heard in the provincial court or in the superior courtAn accused has an election as to which way heshe wants to proceedHeshe can ask for a trial in the provincial court or a trial with a judge and juryIn the latter two situations the trials are held in superior courtIn the majority of these cases a preliminary inquiry is heldThis is a procedure in the provincial court where the Crown presents evidence to the judgeIf the judge finds that there is sufficient evidence if provided by the Crown on which an accused could be convicted the judge will commit the person for trialThat means the person will have a trial in the superior courtSometimes the Crowns case is so weak that the accused is discharged and the case is overA preliminary inquiry is a good opportunity for the defence to see the evidence against the accused and test the credibility for the witnessOccasionally the Crown will prefer an indictmentThat means that an accused has to go straight to trial at the superior court without a preliminary inquiryThere is no limitation time 3 Hybrid Offenses These are offenses which fall between summary offenses and indictable offenses in terms of seriousnessThey are specified in the Criminal Code and in the section of the Code describing the offense it will state that a person is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding a specified time periodOR guilty of an offence punishable on summary convictionIt is up to the Crown which way heshe will proceedIf more than 6 months have passed before charges are laid then the Crown will havbe to proceed by way of indictment because of the limitation period on summary conviction casesUS uses felony for indictable and misdemeanour for summary offences Burden of ProofIn criminal law the Crown has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubtThis means that the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt both elements actus reus and the mens rae of a crime In quasicriminal cases the burden of proof shifts and the only thing the Crown has to prove is that the offence actually took placeIf an accused can prove heshe took all reasonable care heshe could be acquittedThis is called strict liability fine and imprisonment can be serious used in federal provincial and municipalThere is also absolute liability just have to show that the person committed a crimefines where once the Crown proves the offence has been committed there will be a convictionCourtsUnder section 4 the provincial governments are responsible for the Administration of the criminal justice system excluding the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal Courts Section 101Provincial court inferior level of criminal courthears trials by judgeAloneProvince appoints these judges under Section 92 o Summary offencesHigh courtsuperior court of criminal jurisdictionempowered to hear all types of cases jury and non jury Section 96 o Indictable offencesCourt of appeal of each provincehears appeals of verdicts andor sentencesEither the Crown or a convicted person may appealDecisions from a Court of Appeal of a province set precedents and are binding a judge must follow on the lower courts in that province All judges appointed under section 96Supreme Court of Canadahighest courts in CanadaHears some appeals from the courts of appealDecision are binding all courts in Canada appointed in section 101Starting the Criminal ProcessIn Canada the criminal process can be started in several waysA person may be arrested with or without a warrant a summons may be issued compelling the appearance of an accused person before the court or an appearance notice may be givenAn information is sworn document which sets out the criminal chargesThis gives a court authority over and accusedWhen an information is sworn the police officer it is usually a police officer although anyone can swear an information states that he has a reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the offences in the information have been committedA further method of starting the process is that and indictment may
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