Criminal Law Web

Analytic Structure: Canadian Criminal Code

I. Definition: Criminality ("Offense") 
Does the behavior constitute criminal conduct? (was a (penal) law violated?)

A. in general: Does the penal code apply (jurisdiction)? B. in particular: Does the behavior meet the definition of a particular criminal offense defined in the penal code?
1. What are the elements of the offense as defined?
(a) Actus Reus (i) Conduct
- required (ii) Circumstances - only required in result offences (e.g. homicide [s.222]) - e.g. nature of offender (peace officer [s.69]) or victim (statutory rape [s.151], assaulting peace officer [s.270(1)(a)]); legality (s.279(1)(b)); time (s.230; trespass at night [s.177]); place [s.431.2(2)]; (absence of) consent [s.265(1)]; justification ("without lawful excuse" [s.177]) (iii) Result - only required in result offenses (e.g. homicide [s.222], causing death by criminal negligence [s.220]) (b) Mens Rea: Mode of Culpability, Mental State (w/ respect to each element) - may be required (e.g. wilful promotion of hatred [s.319(2)] - [rules of interpretation] - e.g. intent(ion), knowledge, wilful blindness, recklessness, criminal negligence (due diligence defence), wilfulness. (see comparative chart) 2. Does the behavior satisfy each element of the offense?
(a) Conduct
- act - voluntariness - omission (criminal negligence [s.219]) - imputation/derivative liability (party liability [s.21]) - instruments - complicity [s.21] - corporate actors [s.22.1-2] (b) Circumstances (e.g. (absence of) consent [s.193(1), s.465]) (c) Result - causation [ss.222(6), 224 to 226 and 228] - factual - legal (d) Mode of Culpability (w/ respect to each element) (i) mistake "of fact" (i.e. as to satisfaction of offense element) (ii) intoxication [s.33.1] (iii) diminished capacity

II. Justification: Illegality/Unlawfulness/Wrongness ("Defense")

    Is the criminal conduct unlawful generally speaking? (was the law violated?)

A. in general (nature of justification; justification vs. excuse) B. specific defenses
1. law administration and enforcement
[s.25] 2. authority [s.43] 3. defense (self [s.34]; another [s.37]; property [s.38]) [4. consent (cf. s.14 (no consent to death)] [5. necessity (duress of circumstances) (cf. "public good" defense: ss.162(6), 166(3))]

C. reasonable mistake re: satisfaction of justification element [s.34(2)]

III. Excuse: Inculpation/Responsibility/Accountability/Blameworthiness ("Defense") 
Can the accused be held culpable for the facially criminal conduct?

A. Did the accused lack the capacity for conduct (incapacity)?
1. insanity
[s.16] - (exculpatory) intoxication (not available; but see I. (intoxication)) 2. infancy [s.13]

B. Was the accused incapable of exercising his capacity for culpable conduct? (inability/impossibility/unavoidability)
1. duress (a) personal [s.17] (b) circumstantial (see II.B.5 (necessity) 2. provocation (homicide only) [s.232] 3. superior orders [s.32(2)] 4. entrapment 5. abandonment - complicity - inchoate crimes 6. mistake (ignorance) "of law" [s.19] (a) reliance on official misstatement (b) unreasonable mistake re: satisfaction of justification element