Canadian Justice Case review

After having read Regina v. Hundal, write a four page (1000 word) case analysis in essay format of this Supreme Court of Canada decision.What was the decision?Why was it important?How did it affect the way police enforce criminal driving offences?Remember to attach a title page, with your name, student number, title, and course name.CASE:File No.: 22358.1992: January 30; 1993: March 11.Present: Lamer C.J. and La Forest, L?Heureux?Dub?, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Stevenson* and Iacobucci JJ.on appeal from the Court of Appeal for British ColumbiaCriminal law ?? Dangerous driving ?? Mens rea ?? Objective or subjective standard ?? Motorist killed by truck driving through intersection as light turned red ?? Trucker thinking not possible to stop ?? Evidence that trucker?s driving outside the norm ?? Whether objective or subjective standard should apply ?? Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, s. 233(1), (4), as am. by S.C. 1985, c. 19, s. 36 (now R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 249(1), (4)).Appellant was involved in a fatal motor accident and charged with dangerous driving under s. 233 (now s. 249) of the Criminal Code. The accident occurred in heavy afternoon traffic on a wet four lane street in downtown Vancouver. The deceased had waited at the intersection for a red light and was proceeding through it on a green light. He had crossed the cross?walk and the two west?bound lanes when his car was struck broadsides by the appellant?s overloaded truck in the east?bound passing lane.The appellant testified that he thought he could not stop when the light turned amber, sounded his horn and proceeded through the intersection. Several witnesses testified that appellant?s truck entered the intersection after the traffic light had turned red and police testimony established that the light was timed to provide a significant delay between one direction?s receiving an amber light and the other?s receiving a green light. One witness, who had driven behind the truck for some distance, testified that the appellant had gone through another intersection as the light turned red and estimated the truck?s speed at the time of the collision to be between 50 to 60 km/h.The trial judge found that the appellant?s actions represented a gross departure from the standard of care to be expected from a prudent driver and found him guilty of dangerous driving causing death. That decision was upheld on appeal. At issue here is whether there is a subjective element in the requisite mens rea which must be established by the Crown in order to prove the offence of dangerous driving described in s. 233 (now s. 249) of the Criminal Code.Held: The appeal should be dismissed.Per L?Heureux?Dub?, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory and Iacobucci JJ.: The mens rea for the offence of dangerous driving should be assessed objectively but in the context of all the events surrounding the incident. The objective test meets the requirements of s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and was properly applied here.Negligent driving can be thought of as a continuum that progresses, or regresses, from momentary lack of attention giving rise to civil responsibility through careless driving under a provincial Highway Traffic Act to dangerous driving under the Criminal Code.Section 233 (now s. 249) of the Criminal Code requires an objective standard. This standard is quite appropriate given the need to reduce highway carnage. A consideration of the personal factors essential to determining subjective intent is generally not necessary given the fixed standards of physical and mental well?being coupled with the basic knowledge of the standard of care required of licensed drivers. A driver, whose conduct was objectively dangerous, should not be acquitted because he or she was not thinking of his or her manner of driving at the time of the accident. The nature of driving itself is often so routine and automatic that it is almost impossible to determine a particular state of mind of a driver at any given moment. The question to be asked, therefore, given that liability for dangerous driving is based on negligence, is whether, viewed objectively, the accused exercised the appropriate standard of care??not whether the accused subjectively intended the consequences of his or her action. The accused can still raise a reasonable doubt that a reasonable person would have been aware of the risks of his or her conduct. The test must be applied flexibly in the context of the events surrounding the incident.The trier of fact must be satisfied that the conduct amounted to a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the accused?s situation. If the accused offers an explanation, such as a sudden and unexpected onset of illness, the trier of fact, in order to convict, must be satisfied that a reasonable person in similar circumstances ought to have been aware of the risk and of the danger involved in the conduct manifested by the accused. A charge to the jury need only follow this reasoning. It need not be long or complex. Neither the section nor the offence requires it.Per Lamer C.J. and McLachlin J.: The reasons of Cory J. were agreed with, subject to certain observations on the concept of fault and the ?modified objective test?. An objective test applied here; the question is not what was in the accused?s mind but the absence of the mental state of care inferred from conduct of the accused. The fault is established if that conduct evinces a want of care judged by the standard of a reasonable person in similar circumstances. The relevant circumstances may include circumstances personal to the accused relating to whether the accused lacked the capacities or powers necessary to attain the mental state of care required in the circumstances.Either the objective or the subjective test is capable of establishing the mens rea of a criminal offence. A dangerous or repugnant act, coupled with want of care representing a marked departure from the standard of a reasonable person in all the circumstances, may constitute a criminal offence. A clear distinction, however, must be made between subjective and objective mens rea. The phrase ?modified objective test? was introduced to ensure that jurists applying the objective test take into account all relevant circumstances in the events surrounding the alleged offence and give the accused an opportunity to raise a reasonable doubt as to what a reasonable person would have thought in the particular situation in which the accused found himself or herself. This phrase, if it is taken to suggest an amalgam of objective and subjective factors and looks at what ought to have been in the accused?s mind, but goes on to consider what was actually there or not there, blurs the distinction between subjective and objective mens rea. On the objective test, the Crown is not required to establish what was in the accused?s mind as a matter of fact. Under the objective test, only an honest and reasonably held belief can exonerate the accused. It is no defence that the accused thought he or she was being careful. Circumstances may arise where the accused?s action was involuntary, with the result that there was not actus reus.Per La Forest J.: Substantial agreement was expressed for the comments of Cory J. on the mens rea required for the offence of dangerous driving. It was noted, however, that this provision (a quasi-regulatory offence) differs in both its wording and object from the general offence of criminal negligence which requires a subjective mens rea.

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