section 247(5)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

If someone causes the death of another person while committing an offence under subsection (1), they are guilty of an indictable offence and can be imprisoned for life.

SECTION WORDING

247(5) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) and thereby causes the death of any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

EXPLANATION

Section 247(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada addresses the offence of causing death by criminal negligence in the context of street racing. Subsection (1) of the same section outlines the criminal offence of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. This offence involves the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public. For example, if an individual is caught driving at high speeds on a busy road or engaging in unsafe maneuvers, they may be charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. Subsection (5) of section 247 is triggered when an individual commits the offence of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and, as a result, causes the death of another person. In this case, the charge is elevated from a summary conviction offence to an indictable offence, and the offender is liable to imprisonment for life. The purpose of this section is to deter individuals from engaging in dangerous driving practices, which can have serious consequences. Street racing is a particularly dangerous activity that can result in injury or death to participants, bystanders, and other road users. The penalties for causing death by criminal negligence are severe, reflecting the seriousness of the offence. It is important to note that criminal negligence requires more than a mere lack of care or attention. To be convicted under this section, the Crown must prove that the offender's conduct showed a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of others. This high threshold reflects the seriousness of the offence and the need to hold individuals accountable for their actions when they cause harm to others through their own reckless behaviour.

COMMENTARY

Section 247(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is one of the most important provisions to curb street racing and stunt driving activities in the country. The provision imposes severe criminal sanctions upon those who engage in reckless driving and cause the death of another person as a result. The section criminalizes the act of street racing and stunt driving, which is defined as the use of a motor vehicle for the purpose of competing with another motor vehicle in a race or a performance of stunts. It sets out a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for those who are convicted of this offence, and also provides the court with the option to impose a driving ban on the offender. The main purpose of this section is to protect the public from the dangerous and often deadly consequences of street racing and stunt driving activities. The inherent danger in these activities is that they often take place on public roads, meaning innocent people who are not involved and are simply driving or walking along the road can be injured or killed as a result of reckless driving behaviour. The provision also serves to send a strong message to those who might be considering engaging in such activities. While street racing and stunt driving can be seen as a form of entertainment and thrill-seeking, the consequences of such actions can be devastating and life-changing, both for the drivers involved and for the families and loved ones of any victims. While some may argue that the maximum penalty of life imprisonment is too severe for this offence, it is important to consider the gravity of the situation. Street racing and stunt driving pose an imminent threat to public safety, and those who engage in these activities need to be held accountable for their actions. In addition, it is also important to note that this provision is not used lightly, and that prosecutors will carefully consider the circumstances of each case before laying charges. For example, it may be that the driver did not intend to cause harm, or that the victim was partly at fault for the accident. In such cases, the prosecutor may decide to charge the driver with a lesser offence or not to lay charges at all. Overall, Section 247(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision in ensuring the safety and protection of the public from the dangers of street racing and stunt driving. While it may seem harsh, the imposition of severe criminal sanctions is necessary to deter potential offenders and to hold those who engage in reckless driving behaviour accountable for their actions.

STRATEGY

Section 247(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada imposes a serious criminal sanction for causing the death of another person by committing an offence under subsection (1) of the same section. Therefore, it is important for legal practitioners to identify the appropriate legal strategy when dealing with this provision of the Criminal Code. One potential strategy is to challenge the applicability of the provision altogether. The language of subsection (1) of section 247 refers to causing damage to property by fire, and it may be possible to argue that the death of another person was not the intended consequence of the offence. Thus, a defence lawyer could argue that the offender did not intend to cause the death of another person and that this was an unforeseeable outcome of the offence. Another potential strategy is to seek a plea bargain with the Crown. This would involve negotiating a deal with the prosecutor, whereby the offender would plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence. This strategy may be particularly useful if the evidence against the offender is strong and the risk of a conviction under section 247(5) is high. In such cases, a plea bargain may be the most effective way to mitigate the potential harm of a lengthy prison term. Alternatively, a defence lawyer may choose to focus on mitigating the sentence in the event of a conviction. This may involve demonstrating the offender's remorse, their good character, their lack of a criminal record, and other relevant factors that could demonstrate their suitability for a reduced sentence. A judge may be more inclined to impose a reduced sentence if they are convinced that the offender is unlikely to reoffend and has taken responsibility for their actions. Ultimately, the specific strategies that are employed when dealing with section 247(5) of the Criminal Code will depend on a range of factors, including the strength of the evidence against the offender, the offender's individual circumstances, and the legal expertise of the defence lawyer. However, regardless of the approach taken, it is important for legal practitioners to be familiar with all available legal strategies and to carefully consider their options before developing a plan of action. By doing so, they can increase their chances of securing the best possible outcome for their clients.