INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
231(6) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder when the death is caused by that person while committing or attempting to commit an offence under section 264 and the person committing that offence intended to cause the person murdered to fear for the safety of the person murdered or the safety of anyone known to the person murdered.
Section 231(6) of the Criminal Code of Canada sets out the criteria for defining murder as first degree murder, regardless of whether or not it was planned and deliberate. If a person causes the death of another while committing or attempting to commit an offence under section 264, and they had the intention to cause fear for the safety of the person murdered or anyone known to them, then the murder is considered first degree. Section 264 of the Criminal Code deals with criminal harassment, also known as stalking. It refers to conduct that causes someone to fear for their safety, such as repeatedly following them, secretly watching or communicating with them, or making threats. If a person commits or attempts to commit any of these offences and causes the death of someone, they will automatically be charged with first degree murder. The intention to cause fear for the safety of the person murdered or those known to them is a key element in this section. It recognizes the severity of stalking and how it can escalate into violent behaviour that threatens the safety and lives of victims. This section reinforces the severity of criminal harassment and provides a strong deterrent to those who may be inclined to engage in such behaviour. In summary, section 231(6) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a crucial provision in protecting victims of stalking and ensuring that they receive justice. It highlights the gravity of criminal harassment and its potential to result in fatal consequences, and deters individuals from engaging in such conduct.
Section 231(6) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that outlines the circumstances under which a murder will be classified as first degree. Despite the fact that murder is typically defined as an intentional act resulting in the death of another person, this provision broadens the scope of first degree murder to include cases where the murder was committed during an offense under section 264 and the offender intended to cause the victim to fear for their safety or the safety of others known to them. The offence referred to in section 264 is criminal harassment, which involves conduct that causes another person to reasonably fear for their safety. Examples of conduct that may constitute criminal harassment include stalking, threatening, and repeatedly contacting the victim without their consent. When murder is committed during the commission of this offence, and the offender had the specific intention to cause fear in the victim, the offence is elevated to first degree murder. One key aspect of section 231(6) is the requirement that the offender had the intention to cause fear in the victim. This element recognizes that murder accompanied by an intentional act of terrorizing or intimidating the victim is a particularly heinous crime that warrants the most severe penalty. By contrast, when a murder is committed without such an intention, it may be classified as second degree murder, which carries a lesser penalty. Another important element of section 231(6) is its focus on the victim's fear for their safety or the safety of others. This aspect of the provision recognizes that criminal harassment is a form of violence that can have significant impacts on a victim's mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as their physical safety. When a murder is committed during an act of criminal harassment, it indicates that the offender was willing to use violence to intimidate and control their victim, and that the victim's fear was a key element of the offence. Overall, section 231(6) serves an important purpose in Canadian criminal law by recognizing the seriousness of murder committed during an act of criminal harassment. By elevating such offences to first degree murder, it sends a clear message that violence and intimidation are never acceptable, and that those who engage in such conduct will face the most severe consequences. At the same time, the provision also recognizes the importance of intent and the victim's fear, ensuring that only those who deliberately seek to terrorize and control their victims will be subject to the most serious penalties.
Section 231(6) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a key consideration for defence lawyers when dealing with murder charges. This section deals with the issue of first-degree murder as it pertains to crimes of violence against women. When defence lawyers are dealing with this section, there are several strategic considerations that must be kept in mind. First and foremost, it is important to understand the provisions of section 231(6) in detail. The provision specifically states that murder will be considered first-degree murder if the death was caused by the perpetrator during the commission or attempted commission of an offence under section 264 of the Code. This offence, Assault against a Partner, consists of a wide variety of prohibited acts against intimate partners and family members. In order for the offence to be considered first-degree murder, the perpetrator must have intentionally sought to create a sense of fear in the victim or in anyone known to the victim. This requirement is met when the perpetrator either intended to cause fear by their actions (i.e. by using force or making threats) or the victim interpreted the perpetrator's actions (such as a punch or a slap) as being meant to create fear in the victim. Given the high bar for proving first-degree murder under section 231(6), defence lawyers need to prepare their cases with care. When working on such cases, one important consideration is the need to demonstrate that the perpetrator did not intend to create fear in the victim. This may be done by showing that the perpetrator was acting in self-defence or in defence of others. Another strategy that defence lawyers may employ is to use expert testimony to try and show that the perpetrator was not capable of creating fear in the victim. For example, a forensic psychiatrist may be called to testify that the perpetrator was suffering from a mental illness or cognitive impairment that would have prevented them from having the necessary intent. In addition to these strategies, defence lawyers may also use the issue of motive to try and disprove the elements of first-degree murder under section 231(6). If the perpetrator is shown to have had no motive to cause fear in the victim, it would be more difficult for the Crown to prove that the death was the result of first-degree murder. In conclusion, dealing with section 231(6) of the Criminal Code of Canada requires a careful understanding of the legal requirements for first-degree murder in cases of violence against women. Defence lawyers need to take into account various factors when building their case, including the potential for the perpetrator to have acted in self-defence, the possibility of mental illness, and the issue of motive. By crafting a well-planned defence, lawyers can successfully defend their clients against charges of first-degree murder under section 231(6) of the Code.