law_pp_10

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The Nature of Crime
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Goals

By the end of this chapter you will be able to:

Describe the elements that must exist for a person to be charged
with and convicted of a crime under Canadian law.

How to differentiate between the people or “parties” involved in
the commission of a crime.

Explain why some serious crimes are called “incomplete crimes”.
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What is a crime?

A crime is any act or omission of an act that is prohibited and
punishable by federal statute.

“Omission of an act” means that some crimes are not acts in
the strict sense, but rather the failure to act in certain
situations.

Ie – You did not stop at the scene of an accident you were involved
in.
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Four Conditions

Four conditions must exist for an act or omission to be
considered a crime:
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The act is considered wrong by society,
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The act causes harm to society in general or to those (such as
minors) who need protection,
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The harm must be serious, and

The remedy must be handled by the criminal justice system.
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Criminal Law

A crime is considered to be an offence not just against the direct
victim of the crime, but against the public, or society as a whole.


Ie - If an item is stolen from a store, the store owner is not the only
person affected. The store will more than likely raise the prices to
compensate for the theft.
Criminal Law is the body of laws that prohibit and punish acts
that injure individual people, property, and the entire
community. The main purposes of criminal law are to:

Protect people and property

Maintain order

Preserve standards of public decency.
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The Criminal Code

The Criminal Code of Canada is a federal statute that contains
the majority of the criminal laws passed by Parliament. It lists
not only the offences but also the sentences to be imposed
and the procedures to follow when trying those accused of
crimes.

The code is amended by Parliament to reflect changes in
society’s values or to ensure the protection of Canadian
society.
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History of the Code

Before Confederation (1867) each province was responsible
for creating its own criminal laws.

John A. Macdonald believed that a single, uniform set of
criminal laws for the entire country would eliminate some of
the confusion and unfairness that existed.

Section 91 granted the federal government power to exercise
control to make criminal laws. In July 1892, the Canadian
Parliament passed a statute called the Criminal Code of
Canada.

It is called a code because it highlights crimes and the
punishments.

The original code listed all crimes. Now, some crimes are
outlined in other acts (Youth Criminal Justice Act).
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Provincial Jurisdiction

While the federal government establishes and revises the
criminal code, legal authority for administration is shared
between the federal and provincial governments.

Judges are appointed and court houses are paid for and
administered by the provincial government.

Laws passed by provinces and municipalities are not
considered criminal laws but quasi-criminal law. These laws
generally cover less serious offences and the usual
punishment for breaking them is paying a fine. These include
traffic and liquor regulations.