November 24

10 Types of Criminal Offences

Curricular Indicators:

  • Discuss what constitutes a crime according to the Criminal Code of Canada (1985)
  • Compare the types of offences (indictable, summary, and hybrid offences) in the Criminal code and identify in a variety of cases.
  • Identify factors to ensure the judicial process is fair to the accused (presumption of innocence, right to jury, trial of peers)
  • Differentiate between federal penitentiaries and provincial correctional facilities, including various levels of security within, length of sentence and programs available (substance abuse intervention, sex offender treatment, literacy development, work experience, treatment courts).

Some offences described in the Criminal Code of Canada are on the extremes of less and more severe crimes. Most crimes listed are hybrid, meaning the pros

ecution can decide whether to move forward with a charge being more consequential or less, depending on the history of the individual. The Criminal Code also specifies what the minimum and maximum penalties are for each offence, allowing for some fairness in how the law is applied.

Types of Criminal Charges:

Cases to evaluate:


Hybrid Offence Case Study – Section 267 Criminal Code: Assault Causing Bodily Harm

How Sentences are Carried Out After Conviction

Case Study Group Discussions: 

  • Consider carefully the following cases and watch to pull out what you think are the relevant details of each case.
  • You can audio record your group’s thoughts/summary after reading/sharing together. 



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June 11

Law 30: Case Study Comparisons 2019

You’ve been reviewing two criminal cases related to offenders in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It’s one thing to study and understand a single criminal trial and outcome, but to make comparisons to another requires more complex thinking and analysis of the facts.

You’ll have another whole class to review both cases and what information you have related to each. Tomorrow, you’ll have an open-book exam testing your understanding of the cases themselves but also your legal understanding of elements of Criminal Law.

Below are a list of factors to consider in your review of both cases:

  • the defendant’s personal backgrounds
  • their support system – family, friends, secure social environment
  • health and wellness of the defendant at the time of the crime – anything to impair decision-making?
  • others involved in the crime – a principal offender, others aiding/abetting putting pressure on defendant
  • elements of the criminal act(s):
    • voluntary actions taken by the defendant that are considered a criminal offence
    • any inaction of the defendant that constitutes failure of duty
    • types of criminal offences they were charged with and/or actually convicted of
    • proof of their actus reus (guilty act) and mens rea (guilty mind) for each offence
      • remember, prosecution needs to prove guilty act and guilty mind occurring together for each offence
    • difference between the sentence of a conviction via the Youth Criminal Justice Act versus the adult sentence of the Criminal Code
    • what evidence or elements of the crime would/could a prosecutor focus on to prove and support the defendant’s level guilt in the crime?
    • What evidence or elements of the crime would/could a defence lawyer focus on to prove and support their client’s innocence in the crime?
  • What similarities can you identify of their offences and trial outcomes?
  • What differences can you identify of their offences and trial outcomes?
  • Consider why Paul’s offences seemed similar in circumstance to Briscoe’s but her charges were reduced to manslaughter and unlawful confinement.
  • Consider the phsyical involvement of both Briscoe and Paul in their offences.

Good luck!

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June 4

11 Elements of Criminal Offence

For someone to be found guilty of a crime, you must prove two parts of the offence: guilty act and guilty mind.

Guilty Act:

  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt – it doesn’t need to be 100% certainty of guilt to find someone guilty.

Standard of Proof.png

Murder, Manslaughter, Criminal Negligence: What’s the Difference? (article)

Criminal Negligence Cases:


Criminal Offences – Recent Articles


Case Study on Willful Blindness – one of the tests of mens rea:

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May 27

Law 30 Criminal Law – intro

We’ve discussed how Criminal Law is unique among the other categories of Law in Canada. In this section, we’ll start looking at the specifics of it.

Some of the Big Ideas you should focus on in this section include:Image result for criminal law canada

  • Understand what constitutes a crime according to the Criminal Code of Canada (1985).
  • Recognize the different elements of criminal and civil law, such as purpose, role of the courts, procedures, outcomes, enforcement of sanctions, onus and burden of proof.
  • What constitutes a crime or how it is different from what is illegal.
  • How criminal law events can still overlap/be related to civil law cases.
  • The concept of “protection of society” even though a criminal offence usually has specific victims.
  • What two parts of any crime are explained within the Criminal Code itself?

Criminal Code of Canada sites:


Civil Suits That Followed Criminal Ones: (overlap of criminal law and private)





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May 15

Law 30 9.0 Criminal Law – news articles connections

Starting the Criminal Law Unit next, we’ll read through several news articles of events that have a connection to legal rights. You will have a Socrative quiz open to add your initial reactions anonymously and build from those comments added.

News Articles With Legal Connections:

  1. Tethered girl awarded damages in BC
  2. Delta motorcyclist impaired before crash with Mountie
  3. Calgary parents acquitted of manslaughter in death of daughter
  4. B.C. gay basher gets 17 months sentence
  5. Police can’t block Facebook rape images
  6. Canadian soldier pleads not guilty in Afghan death
  7. Manslaughter charge laid in Winnipeg
  8. Montreal police investigating possible hate crime
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April 29

Law 30 08.1 The Charter – Summaries & Cases

To understand the rights and freedoms developed within the Charter document, you’ll read through an explanation of each important section, summarize the important parts of it, and summarize a Charter case related to that section.

The Canadian Charter of Rights is more than three decades old already and our understanding and application of its rights and freedoms have been interpreted in many ways by significant legal cases and challenges.

It is one of the most widely misunderstood elements of our political and legal system in Canada, though, so it’s is important to get a clear/correct understanding of what it offers and doesn’t offer Canadians. 

2.1 Introduction: Summary of the Charter overall

2.2 a Reasonable Limits and Notwithstanding Clause: Summaries of each

Reasonable Limits

Notwithstanding Clause


2.2 b R. v. Oakes 1986 Summary and Significance

2.2 c Notwithstanding Clause Uses: list the times governments have implemented this clause. (Remember, this clause was added at the last minute to satisfy provincial leaders’ concerns, to ensure Federal government and courts didn’t hold too much power over provinces.)

2.3 Fundamental Freedoms: 

a. Freedom of Conscience and Religion: Summary and Case summaries

b. Freedom of Thought, Belief, Opinion, and Expression: Summary and Case summaries

c. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly: Summary and Case summaries

d. Freedom of Association: Summary and Case summaries


2.4 Democratic and Mobility Rights: Summary and Case summaries

Democratic Rights

Mobility Rights

2.5 Legal Rights: Summaries and Case Summaries

a. Life, Liberty, and Security of the Person

b. Search and Seizure Laws

c. Detention and Arrest

d. Rights on Being Charged with an Offence

e. Cruel and Unusual Treatment or Punishment

f. Self-incrimination and Interpreter Rights


Cases to consider: reasonable limitations of a right – precedent set cases

  • Law Society of British Columbia v. Trinity Western University and Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada
    A Christian law school wanted to prohibit students who practiced homosexuality. Their status as a school of law was challenged because they were violating Charter rights.
  • Frank v. Canada (Attorney General)
    Federal election laws prohibit someone from voting if they’ve lived outside of Canada for 5 years. The law was challenged and found to violate Charter rights.
  • R. v. Mills (2019)
    A man contacted a 14 yr old girl and had communications with her, telling her he was 23 though he was 32. He didn’t realize it was police behind the account and they collected data from the conversations. He asked to meet the “pretend” girl and when arriving was arrested for child luring. He argued police violated his right to expectation of privacy by creating the account and collecting copies of it. The judge disagreed saying there’s no expectation of privacy in conversations with a child you do not know online. Sets precedent related to right of privacy through digital communications.
  • R. v. Bird (2019)
    A man with over 60 convictions was deemed a high risk to reoffend, so after being released from prison new conditions were placed on him. He wasn’t allowed to return to his home community, where he was thought to be a danger, and instead ordered to stay at a halfway house in Regina. He initially stayed there, but eventually just left it without permission, violating the terms of his release. He claimed the restrictions on his release violated his rights to liberty (freedom). The courts decided it was a reasonable limitation on his right to liberty, because Parliament (through laws) allowed for ways of an offender to challenge a similar order, rather than simply violate it.
  • R. v. Calnen (2019)
    A man was questioned in the murder of his partner. He eventually admitted she’d died after an argument/altercation with him, but he was doing drugs so was scared to inform police. An accidental murder is a manslaughter charge, but investigations found several efforts on his part to hide his crime – moving the body, burning parts and relocating it several times, etc. These additional efforts to hide the details of the crime can now legally be used to infer/as evidence of intent meaning it raises the possible criminal charge from manslaughter to second degree murder. Precedent setting that behaviour after a crime can be used to determine intention of the crime before the act.
  • R. v Jones (2017)
    A man exchanged text messages with someone about firearms and drug exchanges. Part of the evidence used against him were the text messages obtained by a production order (warrant of sorts). He claimed his right to privacy was violated and argued for that evidence to be excluded. Court case determined text message data is kept by a telecommunications company and can be legally compelled to provide that data. His right was not violated because the message data was lawfully obtained.
  • R. v. Reeves (2018)
    A man was convicted of possession of child pornography, but he/his lawyer challenged that the evidence was unlawfully obtained. Police approached the home and the man’s wife who he lived with let them into the home and let them collect the computer. Police kept the pc for 4 months before obtaining a warrant to search it, on which they found a large collection of child pornography images and files. In appeal, though, the courts agreed that a 3rd party cannot give consent to a search, so it was a charter violation of the man’s rights. The conviction and appeal that upheld it were overruled.


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April 16

Law 30 08.1 The Charter – Summaries & Cases

Looking at the different sections of the Charter, use either the Text for support or online sources to develop a clear summary of the rights/freedoms protected within each of the sections as well as a collection of Cases that have been tried in the court system to test the limits of each section.

Textbook Chapter – pdf – it’s been emailed to you through your Sunwest email

Websites useful in Charter Case Studies:


Extension Questions: Questions we have from our discussionImage result for discussion icon png

  1. The court is meant to balance against government abusing power to create new legislation. What if the courts aren’t balanced either ideologically and decisions are made leaning towards whoever was able to add judges to the bench?


Question to answer in your Comment: What understanding do you have now of Canada’s Supreme Court make up and whether it could be used by a government to predict decisions, as it often is in the States. In your opinion, can we trust the balance the courts offer against government power?

April 9

Law 30 07 Changing the Constitution – The Why

As Canada developed further as a country, it grew in population and diversity. Eventually, it was believed that protections needed to be included in the Constitution level of law to protect that diversity – thus the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Resources to Support Learning for This Section:

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April 5

07 Protections from Judicial Pressure – Documentary

The general public likely has nothing to fear within the judicial system, but it would be naive to believe only guilty people are convicted of crimes. There are many examples of individuals found guilty of serious offences, including murder, serving a number of years in prison, only later to be exonerated and their convictions erased, because of new evidence revealed. Andy Rose is one such individual.

“Someone Got Away With Murder” Fifth Estate Documentary – how far can police go in pressuring a suspect to gain evidence to use against them in a trial? And at what cost?

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