Causation Of The Criminal Law

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Chapter Three - Causation in the Criminal Law
Chapter three allowed me to discover many new concepts including the legal definition of death, the difference between factual and legal causation, the difference between active and passive euthanasia, what assisted suicide is, and that there can be more than one cause of death.
Much of this chapter focused on focused on causation. “ In all cases where consequences are an essential element of the actus reus, it is clear that the Crown must prove that "but for" the actions of the accused, the prohibited consequences would not have occurred.” (Lecture Slide, Sept 24(2) PPT) The consequences of someone’s actions must be foreseeable, and there should be a clear link between the act and the consequence. An individual should only be punished for an event that could be foreseen from their actions. Foreseeability becomes a big factor in causation.
An applicable case is Trotta (2004). In this case, a husband and wife faced many charges after the death of their child who was eight months old. The evidence showed that the husband assaulted the child, and the knowing wife did nothing to prevent the assault. The man was charged with second degree murder and his wife was charged with criminal negligence causing death. This case was later appealed.
Another applicable case is Nette (2001). This took place at the supreme court of Canada, where the court ruled that “there are two - quite distinct - issues that must be considered in determining whether or not the accused’s conduct caused a certain prohibited consequence: namely, factual causation (or causation in fact) and legal causation (or causation in law).” (Jones, 2011, p. 52) Factual causation uses a mechanical test whereas le...

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...e. This section states that “A female person commits infanticide when by a wilful act or omission she causes the death of her newly-born child, if at the time of the act or omission she is not fully recovered from the effects of giving birth to the child and by reason thereof or of the effect of lactation consequent on the birth of the child her mind is then disturbed.” (Criminal Code, 1985)
The case of Roy (2012) touches upon an offence of dangerous driving causing death. In this case, Roy was driving home in poor conditions on slippery roads. Roy’s passenger was killed when he turned onto the highway and collided with a tractor-trailer. Since Roy could not recall the events due to losing his memory, he could not explain what happened.This case worked its way up to the Supreme Court of Canada, where they stated that the mens rea of the offence was never proved.
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