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Criminal Law

 Excerpts from the Criminal Code

 Every one who
 A) Breaks and enters a place with intent to commit an indictable offence
therein… is guilty
 D) If the offence is committed in relation to a dwelling-house, of an
indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life, and
 E) If the offence is committed in relation to a place other than a dwelling-
house, of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding ten years or of an offence punishable on summary conviction
 In groups, discuss:
 Why do you think that the punishment for breaking into a dwelling-
house (private residence) is more severe than for breaking into a
business or a store?
What is Criminal Law?
 Deals with offences committed against society
 The body of laws that prohibit and punish acts that injure people, property and
The Need For Criminal Law
 Criminal law helps to keep order in society
 Its main purpose is prevention and penalties
 In Canada the Federal Government handles criminal laws and all these laws
are listed in the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC)
 At any time the CCC reflects the values of society declaring certain actions to
be criminal
 Reform of the Criminal Code of Canada reflects a shift in these values
 Reform can be criminalizing, decriminalizing or legalizing a specific behaviour
 Examples:
 Euthanasia became legal as of June 2016 to relieve the suffering of
terminally ill adults
 Legalization of marijuana on July 1, 2018
Purpose of
What is a Crime?
 An act or omission (failure to act) of an act that is prohibited by law and
punishable under federal statute
 People in society have different values and beliefs and often disagree about
criminal laws and therefore laws are constantly evolving and changing when
there is an overwhelming public interest
 When changes are being made to the Criminal Code of Canada these 4
things must be taken into consideration
1. The act is considered wrong/immoral by most people in society
2. The persons actions must cause harm to society and any individual victims
3. The harm must be serious
4. The remedy must be handled by the Criminal Justice System
The Criminal Code of Canada
 Main source of Criminal Law – it describes offences that are considered
crimes as well as their punishments
 The wording of the CCC is often vague so that judges can interpret Criminal
Laws and apply them to individual cases
 Judges have the power to determine if the CCC violates Charter Rights and
then the law becomes unconstitutional and no longer in effect
 When judges make decisions on important cases these decisions become
 What is a precedent? Why is it such an important part of Canadian Law?
Types of Criminal Offences
 In the Criminal Code 3 types of Criminal Offences are listed

1. Summary
2. Indictable
3. Hybrid
1. Summary Conviction
 Minor Criminal Offences
 Heard by a provincial court judge
 There is a 6 month limitation period for the laying of a charge
 Max penalty for most Summary convictions is $2000 and/or 6 months in jail
 Example – prank calling, causing a disturbance
2. Indictable Offences
 Serious crimes that carry more severe penalties than summary convictions
 The Criminal Code of Canada sets out a maximum and sometimes a minimum
 No limit for laying a charge
 Examples – manslaughter, robbery, break and enter
3. Hybrid Offences
 These are types of offences that may be tried as either Summary or Indictable
 The Crown will decide how they wish to proceed *remember if the crime is
charged as an indictable offence the penalty will be harsher
 Hybrid offences are listed as that in the Criminal Code
 Example – theft
 Summary – 6 months
 Indictable – 2 years