section 230

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Section 230 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines culpable homicide as murder committed while attempting to commit certain offenses, causing death as a result of bodily harm, administering a stupefying or overpowering thing, or willfully stopping someones breath.

SECTION WORDING

230 Culpable homicide is murder where a person causes the death of a human being while committing or attempting to commit high treason or treason or an offence mentioned in section 52 (sabotage), 75 (piratical acts), 76 (hijacking an aircraft), 144 or subsection 145(1) or sections 146 to 148 (escape or rescue from prison or lawful custody), section 270 (assaulting a peace officer), section 271 (sexual assault), 272 (sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm), 273 (aggravated sexual assault), 279 (kidnapping and forcible confinement), 279.1 (hostage taking), 343 (robbery), 348 (breaking and entering) or 433 or 434 (arson), whether or not the person means to cause death to any human being and whether or not he knows that death is likely to be caused to any human being, if (a) he means to cause bodily harm for the purpose of (i) facilitating the commission of the offence, or (ii) facilitating his flight after committing or attempting to commit the offence, and the death ensues from the bodily harm; (b) he administers a stupefying or overpowering thing for a purpose mentioned in paragraph (a), and the death ensues therefrom; or (c) he wilfully stops, by any means, the breath of a human being for a purpose mentioned in paragraph (a), and the death ensues therefrom.

EXPLANATION

Section 230 of the Criminal Code of Canada establishes that culpable homicide is considered murder if an individual causes the death of another person in the commission of certain offences. These offences include high treason, hijacking aircraft, piratical acts, sabotage, escape or rescue from prison, assaulting a peace officer, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, forcible confinement, hostage-taking, robbery, breaking and entering, and arson. The section further states that whether or not the individual intends to cause death to any human being or knows that death is likely to occur, they will still be charged with murder if the victim dies as a result of their actions in committing or attempting to commit one of the abovementioned offenses. This can occur if the individual means to cause bodily harm to facilitate the commission of the offense or their escape after committing or attempting to commit the offense, and the resulting bodily harm leads to death. The use of a stupefying or overpowering substance for these purposes, as well as the deliberate stopping of an individual's breath, can also result in a charge of murder under this section. Overall, Section 230 of the Criminal Code of Canada serves to establish clear consequences for individuals who cause the death of another person while committing certain offenses, even if they did not intend to do so.

COMMENTARY

Section 230 of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the legal framework surrounding the crime of culpable homicide. This section stipulates that culpable homicide is deemed to be murder when a person intentionally causes the death of another person while engaging in or attempting to engage in certain egregious criminal offenses. According to the section, a person can be charged with murder if they cause the death of another person while committing or attempting to commit high treason or treason, sabotage, piratical acts, hijacking an aircraft, escape or rescue from prison or lawful custody, or any other number of serious crimes. The section also notes that a person can be charged with murder regardless of whether or not they intended to cause death or knew that death was likely to occur as a result of their actions. Furthermore, Section 230 outlines three specific scenarios in which a person may be charged with culpable homicide as murder. These scenarios involve a person intentionally causing bodily harm to another person for the purpose of facilitating the commission of a crime, administering a stupefying or overpowering substance to another person for the same purpose, or wilfully stopping the breath of another person. Overall, Section 230 serves as a critical component of Canada's criminal justice system, providing the legal guidance necessary to hold those who commit heinous crimes accountable for their actions. Through this section, individuals who engage in activities that intentionally or unintentionally cause the death of another person can be charged with murder and face swift and severe legal consequences. While some may view Section 230 as overly restrictive or punitive, it's important to recognize the critical role that this legislation plays in preserving public safety and protecting the populace from those who engage in dangerous and criminal activities. By clearly outlining the consequences associated with certain criminal offenses, Section 230 helps to deter individuals from engaging in such activities and provides victims and their families with the recourse they need to seek justice in the aftermath of a tragedy. Overall, Section 230 serves as a testament to Canada's commitment to upholding the rule of law and promoting safety and security throughout the country. With this legislation in place, Canadians can feel secure in the knowledge that those who commit serious crimes will face the full weight of justice and be held accountable for their actions.

STRATEGY

Section 230 of the Criminal Code of Canada is often referred to as the "felony murder rule." It establishes that a person can be charged with murder if they cause the death of another person while committing an enumerated offence, even if they did not intend to cause the death. Given the severity of the offence, there are several strategic considerations that must be taken into account when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code. Firstly, it should be recognized that the application of Section 230 can have a significant impact on plea negotiations and sentencing. The allegation of murder carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment, which can be a daunting prospect for defendants and their legal counsel. Therefore, it is important to assess the strength of the Crown's case and evaluate potential defences in order to determine the best course of action. One such defence that could be employed is to argue that the accused did not cause the death of the victim. This could involve challenging the Crown's forensic evidence or presenting evidence that places the accused elsewhere at the time of the offence. Another option could be to negotiate a plea to a lesser offence. This could involve pleading guilty to an enumerated offence, such as robbery or assault, but not to the charge of murder. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this could result in a lesser sentence and avoid the mandatory life imprisonment term. Additionally, given the seriousness of the allegation, it may be important for defendants and their legal counsel to engage a qualified expert witness who can provide independent analysis of the evidence and testify on behalf of the defence. It is worth noting that Section 230 can also be applied in circumstances where the accused is an accomplice to the enumerated offence. In these cases, it may be important to assess the nature and extent of the accused's involvement in the crime, and whether they had the necessary intent to be charged under Section 230. In conclusion, dealing with Section 230 of the Criminal Code of Canada requires careful consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of the Crown's case, as well as a thorough review of potential defences and sentencing options. Engaging a qualified expert witness and conducting a thorough defence investigation can also be critical to achieving a favourable outcome.