- Crime is breaking the norm or standard that is set by society. Crime leadsto
response from government official. Deviance leads to response from society.
- Meris Rea: belief that rational people choose their own behaviour.
o Necessary element of crime, refers to intent of crime, a guilty mind.
o Three levels of meris rea: intent (must want to harm), knowledge (knew
action was wrong) and Recklessness (lack of appropriate care and
attention to what he/ she was doing)
Criminal Justice System:
- Considered to contain all the agencies and organizations involved in dealing with
crime prevention and responding to persons charged with offenses, and persons
convicted of crimes.
- Includes crime prevention and reduction
- Responds to law breaking with investigation, prosecution and punishment.
- Only fraction of criminal acts come to police attention, and even smaller go into
court and lead to sentence of incarceration.
- Restorative justice: alternative methods, conditional release (parole, mediation
- Crime funnel: small amount of crime caught, smaller reported, smaller arrested,
court, incarcerated. Actual crime a lot more.
Structure of Criminal Justice:
- Controlled almost entirely by governments.
o Elected officials: members of parliament (establish budgets for criminal
o Senior civil servants: appointed government employees
o NGO; not all people in justice system gov’t employees Roles & Responsibilities of Governments in CJS:
- Constitution act 1867: division of responsibility between federal and provincial
- Federal decides which behaviours constitute criminal offences, provincial and
territorial enforce and administer justice system.
o create, amend and repeal law for entire country. Sets procedures for
prosecuting person charged with offenses, and establishes the
punishment. RCMP; prosecutes some federal offenses, manages some
courts, operates correctional institutions.
o Federal offenses: drugs, abduction, etc. criminal code: sets criminal laws,
procedures for prosecuting federal offenses, sentences and procedures
for the justice system
o Charter of Rights: component of constitution act that guarantees basic
rights and freedoms.
o Can pass laws under their constitutional jurisdiction
o Drinking, speeding, handheld device while driving
o Police: 3 types of police: Ontario provincial police, Surete du Qubec &
Royal newfoundland constabulary
o Prosecutors, Courts and Judges: every province and territory has attorney
general, for laying charges and prosecuting. Also have courts, and judges
elected via independent tribunal
o Corrections: probation, fine-option program, and victim-offender
reconciliation >less than 2 year
o Enact bylaws that are within city limits. Minor penalties; principally fines
Flow of Cases through Justice System: - Dynamics: decisions are made by justice personnel, challenges they face
preventing and responding to crime, initiative taken to make justice system more
- Adversarial system: advocates present case in front of a neutral judge or jury.
Has principles, some include:
o Presumption of innocence: innocent before proven guilty
o Crown bear burden of proof: they try to prove the accused guilty not
accused prove his/her innocence
o Doli incapax: too youg for evil; child under 12, not prosecuted for criminal
o Insanity: mentally instable
o Attempts are crimes: attempted then punished for ½ of actual sentence of
- Accused person cannot be compelled to give evidence. Defence lawyers
concerned about placing defendant on stand; they can give distorted version of
event, can have difficulty answering questions.
Exercise of Discretion by Criminal Justice Personnel:
- Discretion: freedom to choose between different options when confronted with
- Makes it inconsistent of how laws are applied and how cases processed in court
- Criminal justice professionals are also given considerable opportunity for
- Parole officers under scrutiny because of releasing people convicted of heinous
- Disparity: one judge might give probation while another would sentence to prison
Community Control to State Law:
- History: society was previous regulated by norms, folkways and mores, there
was strong in group pressure to conform.
- Punishment: gossip and ridicule, or revenge as a response to harmful acts - Complexity of society informal social control mechanisms replaced by formal
ones. Transfer of power and authorities to governments and criminal justice
- Restorative justice allows community resident involvement
Foundations of The Legal System:
- Canadian legal system of common law (originated in Europe, Canada 17-18 cen.
- Precedent: when judge makes decision to be legally enforced, guide other judges
- Stare Decisis: higher courts set precedents lower courts must follow
- Rule of law: foundation of Canadian legal system
o All citizen must obey law, if break, only legal system respond
o Legal system must be fair
o Only elected officials make decision
o Written clearly so all people understand
o Must apply equally
o Penalty must be defined for breaking rule
- Two general categories public and private law, public affect society
- Public Law: criminal, constitutional, administrative, taxation
- Criminal Law: body of law that deals with conduct so harmful to society that it is
prohibited by statute and prosecuted by government.
- defines which acts are against law and sets out available penalties. Guidelines to
be followed by police and judges when arresting and investigating.
- Limits in the extent criminal law can intrude on activities of citizens in confines of
their home. Masturbating case
Criminal Law vs. Civil Law:
- Civil Law: cateogory of laws relating to contracts, torts, inheritance, custody of
children - Difference between criminal and civil:
o Gov’t assumes responsibility in case of criminal law, criminal court on
behalf of victim and community undertake responsibility of determining
innocence or guilt.
o Civil law is conflict between individuals
o Civil law person brings case into court, seeks compensation from
o Standard of proof: in criminal trial prosecutor has to prove defendant
guilty, in civil: balance of probabilities.
What is Crime:
- Act or omission that is prohibited by criminal law
- Omission: failing to report a case of child abuse
o Actus reus: commits the act
o Mens rea: intent to commit act
- Crime occurs when:
o Commits an act or fails to do so when in legal responsibility to do so
o Has intent to commit act
o Does not have defence for committing act
o Violate provision in criminal law.
Principles of Canadian Law:
- Act does not person guilty until they are proven so
- No crime without a law, no punishment without a law (rules cannot change in
- Ignorance of law is no excuse
- No one is compelled to incriminate himself: right to remain silence; can’t force
confess - No one should be twice trouble for same cause
Origins & Application of Criminal Law:
- How are laws applied: two main explanations:
- Value consenus model: crime and punishment reflect commonly held opinions
and limits of tolerance. Incest and murder. Society cohesiveness and boundaries
- Conflict Model: crime and punishment reflect the power that some groups have
to influence to formulation and application of criminal law. Person who steals 100
from convenient store gets bigger sentence then fraud by stockbroker resulting
loss of mil.
Classification of offenses:
- 3 categories of criminal offenses: conviction, indictable, hybrid
- Summary conviction: less serious; hurting animal, found in brothel, impersonating
- Indictable: serious offenses that may carry maximum prison sentence of 14+; sex
assault, murder, robbery
- Hybrid (elective): offenses that can be prosecuted summarily or indictment,
decision made by crown. Pointing fire arm at person, sex assault, driving while
disqualified, death threats.
o 6 months to make decision, if increase then it is indictment
Where do Criminal Laws come from:
- Victoria England, before that bible/ religion
- As society changes so does law; stink bombs in public became illegal, lotteries
became legal. Development of technology: cyber bullying, child pornography,
misappropriating cable television service.
- New laws formed, some struck down or repealed
- Moral entrepreneurs: lead moral crusades against certain groups or behaviours
pressurizing legislators to enact criminal statutes; prohibition during war.
Models of criminal justice Administration:
- Crime control model: an orientation to criminal justice in which protection of the
community and apprehension of offenders is paramount. - Due process model: an orientation in criminal justice in which individual rights of
citizens, including those suspected of committing a crime against state are
- police with crime control, court with due process
Deterrent Effect of Criminal Law:
- punishment prevents future crime if three conditions are met: certainty, celerity,
severity. Person must know legal sanctions will be applied for engaging in
criminal activity they will get caught, speed at which they will get punished, and
then the severity of the punishment.
- But catch rate low and punishment not swift, because of due process in court,
defence lawyer may prolong punishment.
Who’s law? whose justice?
- Rule of law: no one is above law, all bound to law and must follow it, are entitled
to its protection, should be observed and enforced equally.
- Debate regarding social profiling, because of increased diversity in Canada
- Proactive efforts of police may be supported by majority of community but not by
minority groups who feel subjected and targeted by police.
- Most new immigrants settle in rural urban areas; cheap places, these spots are
already dense in police because of parole and etc. language barriers also lead to
- Law changes all the time; it is fluid
- 1920’s prohibition laws
- Assisted suicide and abortion still under debate
- This also alters punishment; parole etc.
- Def: An approach to justice based on the principle that criminal behaviour injures
the victim, offender and the community.
- Thus these parties should be involved when trying to solve problem - Alternative to adversarial system of justice
Dimensions of Restorative Justice:
- Victim-offender mediation, circle sentencing, community holistic healing
programs and family group conferences.
Restorative Justice initiatives in Aboriginal Communities:
- Increasing involved in developing restorative methods
- Lower the # of aboriginals incarcerated in provincial corrections.
- Holistic: offenders and victims plus their families make sanction that will meet
Effectiveness of Restorative Justice:
- Lowers rate of reoffending.
- Receive high marks from victim and offenders in terms of Fairness
- Reduced court and case processing times
Obstacles to info Sharing:
- Barriers to info sharing can affect the completeness of information available to
key decision makers.
- Interoperability: ability of hardware and software from multiple databases to
communicate with one another.
- Police can share info with counter parts, etc.
High Cost: Crime and Criminal Justice
- 13 billion to operate criminal justice system
- Increased spending has not affected the efficiency or effectiveness of the system
Justice in Multi-culture Scoiety:
- Because Canada is so multicultural, makes it difficult for justice system to ensure
rights of all citizens. - Muslim girl in quebec taken off of team because of rule ag