Principles of Criminal Law explores the general principles underlying the law of criminal culpability in Canada and provides a critical examination of legislation and case-law in light of these general principles. It covers both common law principles and the constitutional principles derived from the Charter of Rights, with specific chapters devoted to: actus reus, mens rea, strict and absolute liability, justifications and excuses; deficient mental capacity; inchoate liability; secondary liability.
Since the publication of the second edition, there have been many legislative developments. The provisions relating to the mentally disordered have been revamped, especially concerning procedure and disposition. The defence of mistaken belief in the context of sexual assault cases has been limited. The intoxication defence has been abolished for certain “general intent” crimes. Extensive reforms have made it easier to convict corporations and other organizations for criminal offences.
There has also been a plethora of new cases that have changed the landscape of substantive criminal law in Canada. Significant “new” Supreme Court of Canada decisions incorporated in the third edition include, to name just a few: DeSousa, Hundal, Creighton, Lucas, Kerr and Hamilton (mens rea); Wholesale Travel Group Inc. (strict liability); Nette (causation); Daviault and Robinson (intoxication defence rules); Hibbert and Ruzic (duress); Thibert (provocation); Stone and Fontaine (non-mental disorder automatism); O’ Connor (abuse of process); Malott (battered woman syndrome); Barnes (entrapment); Jobidon and Paice (consent in the context of assault); Cinous (“air of reality” test for defences); Parent (anger is not a stand alone defence); Latimer (necessity); McIntosh (self-defence); Dery (no offence of attempting to conspire to commit an offence); Nova Scotia Pharmaceutical Society, Heywood, Clay and Demers (recognizing and developing a new void for vagueness doctrine); Levis (Ville) c. Tetreault (the defence of officially induced error); and Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law (scope of the correction of children defence).