section 249.1(3)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Causing bodily harm or death by evading police pursuit while operating a motor vehicle is an offense.

SECTION WORDING

249.1(3) Every one commits an offence who causes bodily harm to or the death of another person by operating a motor vehicle in a manner described in paragraph 249(1)(a), if the person operating the motor vehicle was being pursued by a peace officer operating a motor vehicle and failed, without reasonable excuse and in order to evade the police officer, to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.

EXPLANATION

Section 249.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with the offence of causing bodily harm or death as a result of evading a police officer while operating a motor vehicle. This section is an amendment to the already existing section 249 of the Criminal Code, which deals with dangerous driving causing bodily harm or death. Under this section, if a person operating a motor vehicle fails to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances, without any reasonable excuse and in order to evade a pursuing police officer, and as a result of this evading, causes bodily harm or death to another person, they are guilty of an offence. The offence described in this section is a specific kind of dangerous driving offence, where the accused person's disregard for public safety by fleeing a police pursuit results in serious harm or death. This offence is considered to be more serious than the basic offence of dangerous driving, as it involves an element of intentional evasion of the police. The section recognizes the importance of stopping when signalled to by police officers, which is an important part of ensuring public safety. In conclusion, section 249.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that enhances the consequences of dangerous driving when operated in conjunction with evading the police. The law recognizes the seriousness of fleeing a police pursuit and causing harm to others, which is why this offence carries a higher penalty. It further reinforces the duty of drivers to stop when signaled by police officers.

COMMENTARY

Section 249.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that addresses a very serious offence. The provision outlines the legal consequences for anyone who causes bodily harm or death to another person due to their failure to stop their motor vehicle when signalled to do so by a police officer. Essentially, this section of the Criminal Code deals with situations in which a driver is being pursued by the police and fails to stop their vehicle, leading to harm to themselves or others. The provision stipulates that the offence is committed when a person causes bodily harm or death to another person by operating a motor vehicle in a manner described in paragraph 249(1)(a). Paragraph 249(1)(a) outlines the offence of dangerous driving and describes a scenario in which a person operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public or that could reasonably be expected to cause bodily harm or death. This means that the person who is being pursued by the police has not only failed to stop, but has also operated their vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to others. Moreover, the provision specifies that the offence is only committed if the person being pursued by the police fails, without reasonable excuse, to stop their vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances. This means that there may be situations in which a driver has a reasonable excuse for failing to stop their vehicle, such as a medical emergency or a situation in which stopping the vehicle may place the driver or a passenger at risk of harm. However, the onus is on the driver to demonstrate that they had a reasonable excuse for failing to stop their vehicle. The penalties for committing an offence under this provision are severe. The Criminal Code provides for a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for offences that involve the death of another person. In cases where there is bodily harm but no death, the maximum penalty is 14 years' imprisonment. These penalties are in place to reflect the seriousness of the offence and to send a message that failing to stop for the police and driving dangerously can have devastating consequences. Overall, section 249.1(3) of the Criminal Code is an important provision that addresses a serious offence. It recognizes the harm that can be caused by failing to stop for the police and driving dangerously, and provides appropriate penalties for those who engage in such behaviour. It also ensures that drivers who have a reasonable excuse for failing to stop are not penalized unnecessarily, while still holding accountable those who put themselves and others in danger. As such, it is an integral part of the Criminal Code's provisions on dangerous driving and is essential in ensuring the safety of Canadians on the road.

STRATEGY

Section 249.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a serious offence that can have severe consequences for the accused. A conviction under this section can result in imprisonment, significant fines, and a criminal record. Therefore, it is essential to consider various strategic considerations when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code of Canada. The following are some of the strategic considerations that should be taken into account: 1. Gather Evidence: To ensure a successful defence, it is essential to gather as much evidence as possible. This may include witness statements, police reports, medical records, and any other evidence that may assist in proving the accused's innocence. The defence should scrutinize the evidence to identify any discrepancies which can be used to undermine the prosecution's case. 2. Selecting the Right Defence Strategy: A wise defence strategy depends on the nature of evidence against an accused. The accused's counsel should consider various defence strategies, including challenging the credibility of witnesses, challenging the admissibility of evidence, and proving that the accused had a reasonable excuse for not stopping. 3. Uncovering any police misconduct: In some cases, police officers may violate the accused's rights during the pursuit, including using excessive force, making arrests without legal justification, or failing to follow police regulations. An experienced defence lawyer can investigate potential wrongdoing on the part of the law enforcement officers. 4. Seeking Pre-Trial Motions: The defence counsel should consider filing pre-trial motions seeking to exclude certain evidence that may be damaging to the accused's case. For example, a motion to exclude evidence obtained through a search warrant that was improperly obtained. 5. Negotiation of pleas: A plea bargain is an option that some defence lawyers may explore. Defense counsel may negotiate a plea with the prosecutor for a reduced charge or sentence, which may be beneficial depending on the strength of the evidence against the accused. In conclusion, Section 249.1(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a serious offence that requires an experienced defence lawyer's strategic approach. Given the severity of the potential consequences of a conviction, it is essential to gather all the relevant facts and evidence. The counsel should select an effective defence strategy that aligns with the facts of the case, and if necessary, challenge any irregularity found. Additionally, seeking pre-trial motions and plea negotiations with prosecutors can be explored to avoid the lengthy and uncertain verdicts in a full trial. Overall, each case is different, and a personalized strategic approach can result in favourable results for the accused.