R. v. DeSousa, (1992) 142 N.R. 1 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin and Iacobucci, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateDecember 13, 1991
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1992), 142 N.R. 1 (SCC);11 CRR (2d) 193;56 OAC 109;76 CCC (3d) 124;[1992] CarswellOnt 100;15 CR (4th) 66;17 WCB (2d) 215;9 OR (3d) 544;95 DLR (4th) 595;[1992] ACS no 77;142 NR 1;[1992] 2 SCR 944;1992 CanLII 80 (SCC);[1992] SCJ No 77 (QL);JE 92-1450

R. v. DeSousa (1992), 142 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]

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

Joao (John) DeSousa (appellant) v. Her Majesty the Queen (respondent) and The Attorney General of Canada, The Attorney General of Quebec and The Attorney General for Alberta (interveners)

(No. 22231)

Indexed As: R. v. DeSousa

Supreme Court of Canada

Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory,

McLachlin and Iacobucci, JJ.

September 24, 1992.

Summary:

At a criminal trial, prior to any evidence being heard, a District Court judge declared s. 269 of the Criminal Code to be unconsti­tutional because it infringed s. 7 of the Charter. Section 269 made it an offence to unlawfully cause bodily harm to another person. The Crown appealed.

The Ontario Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 42 O.A.C. 375, allowed the appeal, holding that the judge erred in his con­clu­sion respecting s. 269. The accused appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal and ordered that a trial proceed on an expedited basis. The court held that s. 269 did not violate ss. 7 or 11(d) of the Charter.

Civil Rights - Topic 768

Liberty - Offences - Absolute liability - Validity - The Criminal Code, s. 269, provided that "everyone who unlawfully causes bodily harm to any person is guilty of an indict­able offence ..." - A District Court judge (Ont.) ruled that s. 269 was contrary to s. 7 of the Charter because it could include an abso­lute liability offence - The Ontario Court of Appeal held that the judge erred in his finding respecting s. 269 - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the appeal court's decision.

Civil Rights - Topic 3163

Trials - Due process, fundamental justice and fair hearings - Criminal and quasi-criminal proceedings - Absolute liability offences - [See Civil Rights - Topic 768 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8584

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Practice - Time for raising Charter issues - The accused was charged with unlawfully causing bodily harm to another person contrary to s. 269 of the Criminal Code - The accused brought a pretrial motion challenging the constitutional va­lidity of s. 269 of the Code, arguing that the provision was contrary to ss. 7 or 11(d) of the Charter - The judge dealt with the motion before hearing the evidence at trial and declared the provision to be of no force or effect - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the trial judge did not err in disposing of the accused's motion before hearing the evidence - See paragraphs 14 to 18.

Civil Rights - Topic 8584

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Practice - Time for raising Charter issues - The Supreme Court of Canada held that a trial judge has jurisdiction to dispose of a motion to quash an indictment for constitutional invalidity - The judge, with rare exceptions, may reserve decision on any application until the end of the case (i.e., the judge may hear evidence before ruling on the motion) - The decision whether to reserve is a discretionary one having regard to two policy considerations, namely that criminal proceedings should not be fragmented by interlocutory pro­ceedings which take on a life of their own and adjudication of constitutional issues is discouraged where there is no factual foundation - The court discussed when a judge is permitted to depart from these policies - See paragraphs 15 to 17.

Civil Rights - Topic 8585

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Practice - Time for deciding Charter issues - [See both Civil Rights - Topic 8584 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 1340

Causing bodily harm - General - [See Civil Rights - Topic 768 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 1340

Causing bodily harm - General - The Criminal Code, s. 269, provided that "everyone who unlawfully causes bodily harm to any person is guilty of an indict­able offence ..." - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "to be brought within the ambit of s. 269, an accused must have committed an underlying unlawful offence ... and have caused bodily harm to another person as a result of committing that un­derlying offence. For liability to be imposed ... the harm caused must have sufficient causal connection to the under­lying offence committed ... The require­ment of an underlying 'unlawful' offence includes at its most general, and subject to [certain] restrictions ... only offences pro­hibited by federal or provincial legisla­tion ..." - See paragraph 19.

Criminal Law - Topic 1341

Causing bodily harm - Elements of offence - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the mental element required to establish the offence of causing bodily harm (Criminal Code, s. 269) - See para­graphs 20 to 28.

Criminal Law - Topic 1341

Causing bodily harm - Elements of offence - The Supreme Court of Canada noted that to be convicted of causing bodily harm under s. 269 of the Criminal Code, the accused must have committed an un­derlying unlawful offence - To prove the mental elements of s. 269, the prose­cution must first satisfy the mental element re­quirement of the underlying offence - The court stated that "... as a matter of statu­tory interpretation, underlying offences of absolute liability are excluded from form­ing the basis for prosecution under s. 269. ... The inclusion of such offences would be contrary to the general canons of criminal interpretation quite apart from any Charter considerations." - See paragraph 22.

Criminal Law - Topic 1341

Causing bodily harm - Elements of offence - The Supreme Court of Canada noted that to be convicted of causing bodily harm under s. 269 of the Criminal Code, the accused must have committed an un­derlying unlawful offence - The court held that the prosecution must satisfy the mental element require­ment of the under­lying offence - Further the underlying offence, including the men­tal element thereof, must be constitutional­ly valid before the under­lying offence can support a charge under s. 269 - The court dis­cussed what constitutes con­stitutional sufficiency and offered an inter­pretation of s. 269 which met the require­ments of s. 7 of the Charter - See para­graphs 22 to 38.

Criminal Law - Topic 1341

Causing bodily harm - Elements of offence - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of word "unlawful­ly" as it was used in s. 269 of the Criminal Code - The court set out the test to be applied in determin­ing what is unlawful within the meaning of s. 269 (i.e., the objective foresight test) - See paragraphs 24 to 28.

Words and Phrases

Unlawful - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of this word as it was used in s. 269 of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 - See paragraphs 24 to 28.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Gralewicz et al., [1980] 2 S.C.R. 493; 33 N.R. 242; 54 C.C.C.(2d) 289; 81 C.L.L.C. 14,070; 116 D.L.R.(3d) 276, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Morgentaler, Smoling and Scott, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30; 82 N.R. 1; 26 O.A.C. 1; 44 D.L.R.(4th) 385; 31 C.R.R. 1; 37 C.C.C.(3d) 449; 62 C.R.(3d) 1, refd to. [para. 14].

R. v. Côté, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 8; 13 N.R. 271; 40 C.R.N.S. 308; [1977] 2 W.W.R. 174; 73 D.L.R.(3d) 752; 33 C.C.C.(2d) 353, refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Villeneuve (1984), 54 A.R. 265 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Cook (1985), 20 C.C.C.(3d) 18 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. R.I.C. (1986), 17 O.A.C. 354 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Peremiczky (Zoly) (1973), 25 C.R.N.S. 399 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Denton (1990), 100 N.S.R.(2d) 174; 272 A.P.R. 174 (Co. Ct.), refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Tennen, [1959] O.R. 77 (C.A.), affd. [1960] S.C.R. 302, refd to. [para. 16].

R. v. Sarson (1992), 73 C.C.C.(3d) 1, refd to. [para. 16].

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Ontario (Attorney General), [1959] S.C.R. 188, refd to. [para. 16].

R. v. Mills, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 863; 67 N.R. 241; 16 O.A.C. 81; 52 C.R.(3d) 1; 26 C.C.C.(3d) 481; 29 D.L.R.(4th) 161, refd to. [para. 17].

Moysa v. Labour Relations Board (Alta.), Alberta Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 and Hudson Bay Co., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1572; 96 N.R. 70; 97 A.R. 368, refd to. [para. 17].

Danson v. Ontario (Attorney General), [1990] 2 S.C.R. 1086; 112 N.R. 362; 41 O.A.C. 250, refd to. [para. 17].

R. v. Rahey, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 588; 75 N.R. 81; 78 N.S.R.(2d) 183; 193 A.P.R. 183; 33 C.C.C.(3d) 289; 57 C.R.(3d) 289; 39 D.L.R.(4th) 481, refd to. [para. 17].

Gamble v. R., [1988] 2 S.C.R. 595; 89 N.R. 161; 31 O.A.C. 81; 66 C.R.(3d) 193; 45 C.C.C.(3d) 204, refd to. [para. 17].

R. v. Gamble - see Gamble v. R.

Metropolitan Stores MTS Ltd. et al. v. Manitoba Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 832 and Labour Board (Man.), [1987] 1 S.C.R. 110; 73 N.R. 341; 46 Man.R.(2d) 241; 18 C.P.C.(2d) 273; 38 D.L.R.(4th) 321; 25 Admin. L.R. 20, refd to. [para. 17].

R. v. Nova Scotia Pharmaceutical Society (No. 2) (1992), 139 N.R. 241 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 17].

R. v. Smith (E.D.), [1987] 1 S.C.R. 1045; 75 N.R. 321; 34 C.C.C.(3d) 97, refd to. [para. 18].

R. v. Wilmot (1940), 74 C.C.C. 1, affd. [1941] S.C.R. 53, refd to. [para. 19].

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. [paras. 21, 22].

R. v. City of Sault Ste. Marie - see R. v. Sault Ste. Marie (City).

Reference Re s. 94(2) of the Motor Vehicle Act (B.C.), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 486; 63 N.R. 266; [1986] 1 W.W.R. 481; 23 C.C.C.(3d) 289; 48 C.R.(3d) 289; 69 B.C.L.R. 145; 36 M.V.R. 240; 18 C.R.R. 30; 24 D.L.R.(4th) 536, refd to. [paras. 21, 22].

R. v. Prue; R. v. Baril, [1979] 2 S.C.R. 547; 26 N.R. 470, refd to. [para. 22].

Beaver v. R., [1957] S.C.R. 531, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Larkin (1942), 29 Cr. App. R. 18 (Cr. C.A.), refd to. [paras. 25, 26].

R. v. Hall (1961), 45 Cr. App. R. 366 (Cr. C.A.), refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Church (1965), 49 Cr. App. R. 206 (Cr. C.A.), refd to. [para. 25].

Director of Public Prosecutions v. New­bury (1976), 62 Cr. App. R. 291 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 25].

Director of Public Prosecutions v. Daley (1978), 62 Cr. App. R. 39 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Adkins (1987), 39 C.C.C.(3d) 346 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Lelievre (1962), 132 C.C.C. 288 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Tennant (1975), 23 C.C.C.(2d) 80 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [paras. 25, 26].

R. v. Kitching (1976), 32 C.C.C.(2d) 159 (Man. C.A.), refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Cole (1981), 64 C.C.C.(2d) 119 (Ont. C.A.), leave to appeal denied [1982] 1 S.C.R. vii; 42 N.R. 175 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Creighton (1991), 50 O.A.C. 395; 66 C.C.C.(3d) 317 (C.A.), leave to appeal granted [1991] 3 S.C.R. vii, refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Gosset (1991), 37 Q.A.C. 161; 6 C.R.(4th) 239 (Que. C.A.), refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Smithers, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 506; 15 N.R. 287, refd to. [para. 26].

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. [paras. 31, 32, 33].

R. v. Metro News (1986), 16 O.A.C. 319; 29 C.C.C.(3d) 35 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1986] 2 S.C.R. viii; 74 N.R. 317; 20 O.A.C. 160, refd to. [para. 31].

R. v. Docherty, [1989] 2 S.C.R. 941; 101 N.R. 161; 78 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 315; 244 A.P.R. 315, refd to. [paras. 31, 32].

R. v. Rees, [1956] S.C.R. 640, refd to. [paras. 32, 35].

R. v. Pappajohn, [1980] 2 S.C.R. 120; 32 N.R. 104; 14 C.R.(3d) 243; [1980] 4 W.W.R. 387; 111 D.L.R.(3d) 1; 52 C.C.C.(2d) 481, refd to. [paras. 32, 35].

R. v. Hess; R. v. Nguyen, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 906; 119 N.R. 353; 46 O.A.C. 13; 73 Man.R.(2d) 1; 3 W.A.C. 1; [1990] 6 W.W.R. 289; 79 C.R.(3d) 332; 59 C.C.C.(3d) 161, refd to. [paras. 33, 35].

R. v. Nguyen - see R. v. Hess; R. v. Ngu­yen.

R. v. Bernard, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 833; 90 N.R. 321; 32 O.A.C. 161, refd to. [paras. 34, 38].

R. v. Chase, [1987] 2 S.C.R. 293; 80 N.R. 247; 82 N.B.R.(2d) 229; 208 A.P.R. 229; 37 C.C.C.(3d) 97; 45 D.L.R.(4th) 98; 59 C.R.(3d) 193, refd to. [para. 38].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 1 [paras. 7, 10]; sect. 7 [para. 2 et seq.]; sect. 11(d) [paras. 7, 13, 39].

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, sect. 245.1(2), sect. 245.3 [para. 1].

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 220, sect. 221, sect. 222(5) [para. 36]; sect. 222(5)(a) [para. 26]; sect. 249(3), sect. 249(4), sect. 255(2), sect. 255(3), sect. 267(1)(b) [para. 36]; sect. 267(2) [para. 9]; sect. 268 [para. 36]; sect. 269 [para. 1 et seq.]; sect. 272(c), sect. 273, sect. 430(2), sect. 433(b) [para. 36]; sect. 601(1) [para. 15].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Blackstone, Sir William, Commentaries on the Laws of England (1769), Book IV, p. 27 [para. 32].

Colvin, Eric, Principles of Criminal Law (2nd Ed. 1991), p. 55 [para. 36].

Martin, Goldwin Arthur, Criminal Law - Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter - Lawful and Unlawful Acts (1943), 21 Can. Bar Rev. 503, pp. 504, 505 [para. 26].

Counsel:

Frank Addario and Maureen Forestell, for the appellant;

David Butt, for the respondent;

Bruce A. MacFarlane, Q.C., for the intervener, the Attorney General of Canada;

Jacques Gauvin, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Quebec;

No one appeared for the intervener, the Attorney General for Alberta.

Solicitors of Record:

Ruby & Edwardh, Toronto, Ontario, for the appellant;

Ministry of the Attorney General, Toronto, Ontario, for the respondent;

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

Jacques Gauvin, Ste-Foy, Quebec, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Que­bec;

Attorney General's Department, Edmonton, Alberta, for the intervener, the Attorney General for Alberta.

This appeal was heard on December 13, 1991, before Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, Mc­Lachlin and Iacobucci, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The following decision was delivered in both official languages for the court by Sopinka, J., on September 24, 1992.

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