+ The Nature of Crime + 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”. + 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. + Four Conditions Four conditions must exist for an act or omission to be considered a crime: The act is considered wrong by society, The act causes harm to society in general or to those (such as minors) who need protection, The harm must be serious, and The remedy must be handled by the criminal justice system. + 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. + 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. + 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). + 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.