R. v. Creighton, (1993) 157 N.R. 1 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateSeptember 09, 1993
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1993), 157 N.R. 1 (SCC);[1993] 3 SCR 3;[1993] CarswellOnt 115;1993 CanLII 61 (SCC);105 DLR (4th) 632;65 OAC 321;23 CR (4th) 189;83 CCC (3d) 346;17 CRR (2d) 1;[1993] SCJ No 91 (QL);[1993] ACS no 91;157 NR 1

R. v. Creighton (1993), 157 N.R. 1 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Marc Creighton (appellant) v. Her Majesty The Queen (respondent) and The Attorney General of Canada, the Attorney General of Quebec, the Attorney General of Manitoba and the Attorney General for Saskatchewan (intervenors)

(22593)

Indexed As: R. v. Creighton

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-

Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory,

McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ.

September 9, 1993.

Summary:

The accused was convicted of manslaught­er and was sentenced to four years' impri­sonment. The accused appealed both convic­tion and sentence. The accused claimed the mens rea requirement of "unlawful act" manslaughter under s. 222(5)(a) of the Criminal Code violated the principles of fundamental justice under s. 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Ontario Court of Appeal, in a judg­ment reported 50 O.A.C. 395, dismissed the appeal without deciding the constitutional issue, because the court held that the accused had subjective foresight of the consequences of his act. The accused appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal. The court held that ss. 222(5)(a) did not violate s. 7 of the Charter.

Civil Rights - Topic 8547

Canadian Charter of Rights and Free­doms - Interpretation - Principles of fundamental justice - The accused and a companion shared cocaine - The com­panion died after being injected by the accused - The trial judge convicted the accused of manslaughter under s. 222(5)(a) of the Criminal Code (causing death by an unlawful act) - The accused claimed "un­lawful act manslaughter" violated the principles of fundamental justice (Charter, s. 7) - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the dismissal of the conviction appeal - The mens rea required for un­lawful act manslaughter, as formulated by the court, did not violate s. 7.

Civil Rights - Topic 8547

Canadian Charter of Rights and Free­doms - Interpretation - Principles of fundamental justice - [See Criminal Law - Topic 1311 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 38

Mens rea or intention - Lack of under­standing or capacity - [See Criminal Law - Topic 1311 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 39.1

Mens rea or intention - Foreseeability - Thin skull rule - [See Criminal Law - Topic 1311 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 1311

Manslaughter - Intention - Death caused by an unlawful act was manslaughter (Criminal Code, s. 222(5)(a)) - McLachlin, J. (three judges concurring), of the Supreme Court of Canada, held that the mens rea required for unlawful act man­slaughter was the objective foreseeability of bodily harm which was neither trivial nor transitory, in the context of a danger­ous act - Foreseeability of death was not required - The objective test was a uni­form standard for all persons without regard to personal characteristics short of incapacity to appreciate the risk - This test did not violate the principles of funda­mental justice (Charter, s. 7) - Lamer, C.J.C. (three judges concurring), held that objective foreseeability of death was required to satisfy s. 7 and that the stan­dard of care under the objective test could vary depending on personal characteristics of the accused - La Forest, J., favoured the reasons of McLachlin, J., on both objective foreseeability of bodily harm and the nature of the objective test.

Criminal Law - Topic 1316

Manslaughter - Unlawful act - What constitutes - [See first Civil Rights - Topic 8547 ].

Cases Noticed:

R. v. DeSousa, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 944; 142 N.R. 1; 56 O.A.C. 109, refd to. [para. 7].

R. v. Larkin, [1943] 1 All E.R. 217; 29 Cr. App. R. 18 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Tennant (1975), 23 C.C.C.(2d) 80 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Adkins (1987), 39 C.C.C.(3d) 346 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Martineau, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 633; 112 N.R. 83; 109 A.R. 321; 58 C.C.C.(3d) 353; [1990] 6 W.W.R. 97; 79 C.R.(3d) 129; 76 Alta. L.R.(2d) 1; 50 C.P.R. 110, refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Serné (1887), 16 Cox 311, refd to. [para. 26].

R. v. Smithers, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 506; 15 N.R. 287, refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Cole (1981), 64 C.C.C.(2d) 119 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Lelievre, [1962] O.R. 522 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Cato et al. (1975), 62 Cr. App. R. 41 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 27].

Director of Public Prosecutions v. New­bury; Director of Public Prosecutions v. Jones (1976), 62 Cr. App. R. 291 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Fraser (1984), 65 N.S.R.(2d) 231; 147 A.P.R. 231; 16 C.C.C.(3d) 250 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 27].

United States v. Robertson (1955), 19 C.M.R. 102 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 27].

Tucker v. Commonwealth (1947), 303 Ky. 864, refd to. [para. 27].

Nelson v. State (1938), 58 Ga. App. 243, refd to. [para. 27].

Rutledge v. State (1932), 41 Ariz. 48, refd to. [para. 27].

R. v. Théroux (R.), [1993] 2 S.C.R. 5; 151 N.R. 104; 54 Q.A.C. 184, refd to. [para. 31].

Lippé et autres v. Québec (Procureur gén­éral) et autres, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 114; 128 N.R. 1; 39 Q.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 32].

R. v. Wholesale Travel Group Inc. and Chedore, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 154; 130 N.R. 1; 49 O.A.C. 161; 67 C.C.C.(3d) 193; 8 C.R.(4th) 145, refd to. [para. 32].

R. v. Finlay (1993), 156 N.R. 374 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 32].

R. v. Brooks (1988), 41 C.C.C.(3d) 157 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 34].

R. v. Hundal (S.), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 867; 149 N.R. 189; 22 B.C.A.C. 241; 38 W.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 46].

R. v. Sault Ste. Marie (City), [1978] 2 S.C.R. 1299; 21 N.R. 295; 85 D.L.R.(3d) 161; 40 C.C.C.(2d) 353; 3 C.R.(3d) 30; 7 C.E.L.R. 53, refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Sansregret, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 570; 58 N.R. 123; 35 Man.R.(2d) 1, refd to. [para. 47].

Reference Re Section 94(2) of the Motor Vehicle Act (B.C.), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 486; 63 N.R. 266; 48 C.R.(3d) 289; 23 C.C.C.(3d) 289; [1986] 1 W.W.R. 481, refd to. [para. 52].

R. v. Gosset (1993), 157 N.R. 195 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 52].

R. v. Naglik (1993), 157 N.R. 161 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 53].

R. v. Perka, Nelson, Hines and Johnson, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 232; [1984] 6 W.W.R. 289; 55 N.R. 1; 42 C.R.(3d) 113; 13 D.L.R.(4th) 1; 14 C.C.C.(3d) 385, refd to. [para. 56].

R. v. Hill, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 313; 68 N.R. 161; 17 O.A.C. 33, refd to. [para. 60].

R. v. Salamon, [1959] S.C.R. 404, refd to. [para. 62].

McErlean v. Brampton (City) et al. (1987), 22 O.A.C. 186; 61 O.R.(2d) 396 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 65].

Dellwo v. Pearson (1961), 107 N.W.2d 859 (Minn.), refd to. [para. 65].

Vaughan v. Menlove (1837), 3 Bing. (N.C.) 468; 132 E.R. 490, refd to. [para. 71].

R. v. Tutton and Tutton, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1392; 98 N.R. 19; 35 O.A.C. 1; 48 C.C.C.(3d) 129; 13 M.V.R.(2d) 161; 69 C.R.(3d) 289, refd to. [para. 72].

R. v. Rogers, [1968] 4 C.C.C. 278 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 75].

R. v. Sullivan (1986), 31 C.C.C.(3d) 62 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 75].

R. v. Crick (1859), 1 F. & F. 519, refd to. [para. 75].

R. v. Church (1965), 49 Cr. App. R. 206 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 92].

R. v. Waite, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1436; 98 N.R. 69; 35 O.A.C. 51, refd to. [para. 93].

R. v. Vaillancourt, [1987] 2 S.C.R. 636; 81 N.R. 115; 10 Q.A.C. 161; 68 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 281; 209 A.P.R. 281; 60 C.R.(3d) 289, refd to. [para. 98].

R. v. S.R.L. (1992), 59 O.A.C. 130; 11 O.R.(3d) 271 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 109].

Colpitts v. R., [1965] S.C.R. 739, refd to. [para. 137].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 7 [para. 1].

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 216 [para. 75]; sect. 222(5)(a) [paras. 6, 90]; sect. 234, sect. 236 [para. 90]; sect. 269 [para. 11]; sect. 686(1)(b)(iii) [para. 137].

Narcotic Control Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-1, sect. 2, sect. 4 [para. 90].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Binchy, William, The Adult Activities Doctrine in Negligence Law (1985), 11 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 733, generally [para. 65].

Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England (1769), Book IV, pp. 192, 193 [para. 9].

Briggs, Adrian, In Defence of Man­slaughter, [1983] Crim. L. Rev. 764, p. 765 [para. 18].

Burbidge, G.W., Digest of the Criminal Law of Canada (1980), p. 216 [para. 9].

Colvin, Eric, Principles of Criminal Law (2nd Ed. 1991), p. 155 [para. 122].

Fletcher, George P., The Individualization of Excusing Conditions (1974), 47 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1269, generally [para. 56].

Fruchtman, Earl, Recklessness and the Limits of Mens Rea: Beyond Orthodox Subjectivism (1986-1987), 29 Crim. L.Q. 421, p. 446 [para. 119].

Hart, H.L.A., Negligence, Mens Rea and Criminal Responsibility, In Punishment and Responsibility: Essays in the Philo­sophy of Law (1968), pp. 35 to 40 [para. 57]; 154 [paras. 119, 124].

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, The Common Law (1881), p. 108 [para. 58].

LaFave, Wayne R., and Austin W. Scott, Substantive Criminal Law (1986), vol. 2, pp. 286 to 299 [para. 27].

Linden, Allen M., Canadian Tort Law (4th Ed. 1988), pp. 116, 117 [para. 71].

Martin, G.A., Case Comment on R. v. Larkin (1943), 21 Can. Bar Rev. 503, pp. 504, 505 [para. 27].

Pickard, Toni, Culpable Mistakes and Rape: Relating Mens Rea to the Crime (1980), 30 U.T.L.J. 75, pp. 76, 81 [para. 129].

Rauf, M. Naeem, The Reasonable Man Test in the Defence of Provocation: What are the Reasonable Man's Attributes and Should the Test be Abol­ished (1987), 30 Crim. L.Q. 73, p. 79 [para. 62].

Salmond and Heuston on the Law of Torts (20th Ed. 1992), pp. 227, 228 [para. 73].

Stuart, Don, Canadian Criminal Law: A Treatise (2nd Ed. 1987), pp. 121 [para. 44]; 192 [para. 119].

Counsel:

James C. Flemming and Timothy E. Breen, for the appellant;

Jocelyn Van Overbeek, for the respondent;

Marian V. Fortune-Stone, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Canada;

François Huot and Mario Tremblay, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Quebec;

Graeme G. Mitchell, for the intervenor, the Attorney General for Saskatchewan.

Solicitors of Record:

Rosen, Fleming, Toronto, Ontario, for the appellant;

Attorney General for Ontario, for the re­spondent;

John C. Tait, Deputy Attorney General of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Canada;

François Huot, Québec, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Quebec;

Deborah Carlson, Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Manitoba;

W. Brent Cotter, Regina, Saskatchewan, for the intervenor, the Attorney General for Saskatchewan.

This appeal was heard on February 3, 1993, before Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On September 9, 1993, the judgment of the court was delivered in both official lan­guages and the following opinions were filed.

McLachlin, J. (L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonth­ier and Cory, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 84;

Lamer, C.J.C. (Sopinka, Iacobucci and Major, JJ., concurring) - see para­graphs 85 to 141;

La Forest, J. - see paragraphs 142 to 149.

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