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CRIM 230 (44)

Crim 230 Ch 3.pdf

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Simon Fraser University
CRIM 230
Simon Verdun- Jones

Chapter 3Causation in the Criminal Lawif actus reus has occurred it must be proved the defendants conduct has actually caused those consequences Crown must prove thatbut for the actions of accused the prohibited consequences would not have occurredNette case 2001 Court ruled there are two distinct issues in determining whether or not accuseds conduct caused certain prohibited consequences factual and legal causationfactual causation causation in factconcerned w inquiry about how victim came to his or her deathmedical mechanicalor physicalwith the contribution the accused to that resulta mechanical testlegal causation causation in lawis concerned w question of whether accused should be held responsible in law for death that occurredreflects fundamental principles of criminal justice ex morally innocent shouldnt be punisheda normative test should the accused be held responsible based on whether reasonable would foresee consequencesJustice Arbour in determining if person should be held responsible it must be proven person caused the result both in fact and in lawestablishing factual causation is usually simple ex scientific evidencebut sometimes there are instances in which there is a link bw conduct and consequence but the person is not criminally responsible ex Ewart 1990foreseeabilitywhether consequence was foreseeablecentral issue to mens reaex Trakas 2008 Shilon stole Trakas bike Traka chased him Traka collided w officer while driving on normal speed and killed him ruled not responsible bc impact was not foreseeable Shilon on other hand ruled w criminal negligence due to foreseeability of danger in conduct and but for his actions would not have caused deathSpecific Rules Concerning Causation in Homicide CasesThe Definition of Death for Purposes of Criminal Lawto convict accused of murder Crown must prove that victim is dead after accused had inflicted injuries but there is problem in defining when a patient can be considered deadif person was on life support and would die if taken off considered deadtotal irreversible brain death despite being aliveLaw Reform Commission of Canada recommended death should be defined in legislation in manner consistent w modern medical developmentsa person is dead when an irreversible cessation of all the persons brain function is deadin instance that individual is not connected to life support death is determined on basis of whether breathing or blood circulation is taking placeAcceleration of Deathsection 226 of Code Where person causes to human being bodily injury that results in death he causes the death of being notwithstanding that the effect of bodily injury is only to accelerate his death from disease or disorder arising from another causeproblematic when applied to context of treatment of terminally ill by legitimate medical practitionermercy killing is also ruled guilty of murdereuthanasiaa good death there are two typesactive and passive euthanasiaactive euthanasiadeliberately taking steps to terminate life of another person ex administering lethal dose of drug w intention to carry out mercy killingis guilty of murder under section14 of CC which statesno person is entitled to consent to have death inflicted upon him and criminal liability of person who inflicts death is not affected by the giving of such consentif doctor had intention to reduce agony by administering a drug but the incidental effect of the drug hastened the death would doctor be liable ex Bodkin Adams 1957 not liablemay be voluntary w consent involuntary against expressed wish or non volutnary person not capable of giving consentpassive euthanasiawithdrawing medical treatment w clear understanding this will accelerate death of preexisting illnessno considered crime provided that there is consent and that the individual is competent
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