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Criminal Law.docx

10 Pages

Course Code
Philosophy 2080
James Hildebrand

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Criminal Law Considered public law State prosecutes the caseoCanada R ReginaThe Queen v Jones oAmerican The People v Larry Flint oEngland Director of Public prosecutions v Smith Criminal law is the most severe way society expresses its disapproval of conduct Offence not only harms particular victim but harms society as a wholecrime against the state Criminal sentencing punishes convicted offenderis directed to rehabilitation and deter the accused person but members of society at large general deterrence Victim or complainant is the states principal witnesshe or she is no more of a litigant than the state Generally the victim does not determine whether the case is either a prosecuted or b not prosecutedDecision of dropping charges is up to crown attorney states lawyerpoliceCrown may not want to prosecute because their principle witness is reluctant to give evidenceoAffects how crown views its reasonable chance of obtaining convictionsmay withdraw chargesoReluctant witnesses can actually be subject to penalty for not cooperating although coercing a witness does not always generate the most reliable evidence Second it is possible to swear a private informationoIf a person tells the police they have been a victim of a crimepolice do not pursue a charge which would require police to swear to a document called information a private citizen can swear an informationoThis is done in front of a Justice of the Peacethere is still some latitude in the crowns office about the prosecution of the case So the state pursues the case the victim is a witnessPresumed innocentinnocent until proven guiltyAccused person is not a compellable witness in his own criminal proceedingbecause we have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law A person is not required to assist the crown in its efforts to convict that personThe Criminal Code of CanadaThere are no common law criminal offences in CanadaoAll criminal offences in Canada are contained in the Criminal Codelisted in code oWhen a person is accused of a crime even before trial or conviction or any further evidence is brought to light that person suffers from a negative stigmapeople at large often carry a presumption that the person must have done something wrong or they wouldnt be chargedoCriminal Code narrows the ambit of the criminal lawnot on the listnot a crime oLists elements of each offencecrown has to prove eachevery element of offence to secure a convictionoCreating a list makes it harder for the crown to define and prove its caseoCodification of criminal offences meant legislature federal parliament had to draft a statute incorporating all the offences that previously had been defined by the common lawoConversely to maintain notion that accused should have the best chance at law to guard against wrongful conviction all common defenses remainoDuress accused person might be able to argue they were being forced to do it against their will oSome defenses have been codifiedsome remain at common lawafford accused every advantageoThere are both statutory and common law defensesDoctrine of Strict Construction oAnother means by which the accused is protected from wrongful conviction
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