INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
Being an accessory after the fact to murder is an indictable offense and can result in life imprisonment.
240 Every one who is an accessory after the fact to murder is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.
Section 240 of the Criminal Code of Canada describes the offence of being an accessory after the fact to murder. This section of the Criminal Code is important as it helps to hold individuals accountable for their involvement in an act of murder, even if they were not the actual perpetrator of the crime. An accessory after the fact is defined as a person who knowingly assists someone who has committed a crime, in order to help them escape arrest, prosecution or conviction. In the context of murder, an accessory after the fact may provide assistance to the murderer in disposing of evidence, hiding the body or avoiding law enforcement. The penalty for being an accessory after the fact to murder is a sentence of life imprisonment. This indicates the seriousness with which this offence is viewed by the Canadian legal system. Life imprisonment means that the offender will spend the remainder of their life in jail, without the possibility of parole or early release. The rationale behind this severe punishment is to ensure that those who are complicit in the act of murder are not able to evade justice or escape accountability for their actions. It also serves as a deterrent to discourage individuals from assisting murderers in any way. Overall, section 240 of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential provision that reinforces the importance of accountability and justice when it comes to the crime of murder. It ensures that everyone involved in such a heinous act is held responsible and punished accordingly, regardless of their level of direct involvement in the crime.
Section 240 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that deals with the crime of being an accessory after the fact to murder. In essence, this provision makes it a criminal offence to assist, conceal or harbour a murderer or anyone who has committed an act of homicide, knowing that they have committed such an offence. The provision is specifically concerned with the role of an accessory after the fact, which refers to anyone who assists the perpetrator of a murder in escaping justice or evading punishment. Examples of such conduct could include providing false information to the authorities, destroying evidence, or helping the perpetrator to flee the scene of the crime. There are two important aspects to note about section 240 of the Criminal Code. Firstly, it only applies to the offence of murder, which is classified as the most serious form of homicide. This is because the offence involves the deliberate and intentional taking of another person's life. The provision does not apply to other forms of homicide such as manslaughter, which may be seen as less intentional or premeditated. Secondly, the punishment for being an accessory after the fact to murder is severe, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. This is reflective of the gravity of the crime of murder, and the fact that an accessory after the fact is seen as effectively aiding a murderer to escape justice. It is worth considering the rationale behind this provision and why being an accessory after the fact to murder is considered such a serious crime. One key reason is that murder strikes at the heart of the social fabric, undermining the value of human life and causing severe emotional, psychological, and physical harm to the victim and their loved ones. It is also a crime that destabilizes the social order, eroding citizens' trust in the justice system and the rule of law. Given these reasons, it is clear that assisting a murderer to evade justice is a serious offence that poses a significant threat to society. In holding individuals accountable for being accessories after the fact, the law aims to ensure that justice is served and that the perpetrator of the murder and anyone who aided them in escaping justice is held accountable for their actions. In summary, section 240 of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that criminalizes the offence of being an accessory after the fact to murder. By imposing serious penalties on those who knowingly and willingly assist a murderer to evade justice, the law aims to uphold the value of human life and protect the social fabric from the harm caused by such crimes.
Strategic considerations in dealing with Section 240 of the Criminal Code of Canada requires a careful analysis of the case at hand. Being an accessory after the fact to murder raises several important strategic considerations that need to be addressed by lawyers. One such strategic consideration is the scope of the defence. An accessory after the fact has been defined as a person who helps someone else to escape from the authorities or to avoid arrest after having committed a crime. In the case of murder, this could mean concealing physical evidence or harbouring the individual who committed the murder. One strategy that could be employed - in limited circumstances - is to plead a defence of duress. In this defence, the accessory may be able to reduce their criminal liability by arguing that they only acted under direct threat of violence from the offender. This defence may be successful in situations where the accessory is being threatened by the offender and has no reasonable opportunity to flee or seek outside assistance. Another strategic consideration is the impact that a charge under Section 240 could have on the client's reputation or standing in the community. In high-profile cases, where the accused is a well-known public figure, a charge of being an accessory after the fact can have serious implications on their professional and personal life. It is of utmost importance, in such cases, to devise a legal strategy that is sensitive to the client's reputation and other associated concerns. Additionally, in order to avoid a conviction for being an accessory after the fact, lawyers may employ the defense of mere presence." A mere presence defense holds that If the accused has no knowledge of the murder committed and was only at the scene of the crime, then they cannot be held liable as a principal actor or an accessory to the murder. However, this defense has been subject to criticism by many legal professionals for its lack of credibility and effectiveness in challenging a conviction under Section 240. Another strategy that could be employed is plea bargaining. Plea bargaining allows a defendant to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduced sentence. If the evidence against an accessory after the fact is compelling, they may opt for a plea bargain to minimize the possible legal penalties they face. In conclusion, being an accessory after the fact to murder is a serious criminal offense. In devising a legal strategy for such cases, lawyers must take into account the specific facts of the case as well as the social and reputational impact of their client. While there are a few different defense strategies that may be employed, it is crucial to proceed with sensitivity and careful attention to detail in order to build a strong and compelling case.