section 657.2(2)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Evidence of conviction or discharge of another person of an offence is proof of the offence for an accused charged with being an accessory after the fact.

SECTION WORDING

657.2(2) Where an accused is charged with being an accessory after the fact to the commission of an offence, evidence of the conviction or discharge of another person of the offence is admissible against the accused, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary is proof that the offence was committed.

EXPLANATION

Section 657.2(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the admissibility of evidence of an offender's conviction or discharge in cases where an individual is charged with being an accessory after the fact to the commission of an offence. This provision has significant implications in criminal proceedings and has the potential to both assist and hinder the prosecution and defence. Essentially, if an individual is charged with being an accessory after the fact to an offence, the prosecution may introduce evidence of the conviction or discharge of another person who committed the offence, which will be admissible against the accused. In effect, this evidence of the other person's conviction serves as proof that the offence was committed, unless evidence to the contrary is presented by the defence. This provision is particularly relevant in situations where the main offender has already been convicted or acquitted, but a case is still being pursued against an accessory after the fact. For example, if a driver is charged with assisting someone who committed a hit and run offence, evidence of the main offender's conviction could be used against the driver as proof that the offence was committed and the driver assisted in covering it up. However, this provision also poses potential challenges for an accused and their defence counsel. Firstly, it means that an accused may be found guilty even if there is no direct evidence of their involvement in the offence, as their association with the offender and knowledge of the offence may be enough for a conviction. Moreover, the provision may raise concerns regarding fairness for the accused, as they may be found guilty based on the actions of another person, without having the opportunity to contest the evidence used against them. Ultimately, section 657.2(2) serves to emphasize the importance of evidence and the role it plays in criminal proceedings.

COMMENTARY

Section 657.2(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that deals with the concept of accessory after the fact. An accessory after the fact is a person who assists in some way after a crime has been committed. This may include providing a safe harbor to the perpetrator, hiding evidence, or giving false information to law enforcement officials. Under Canadian law, a person who is convicted of being an accessory after the fact can face imprisonment for up to 14 years, depending on the type of crime committed and the level of involvement. The provision of Section 657.2(2), however, addresses the circumstances under which evidence of the conviction or discharge of another person of the offence is admissible against the accused. This means that if someone is charged as an accessory after the fact to a crime, and another person has already been convicted or discharged of that same crime, evidence of that conviction can be used against the accused. The rationale behind this provision is that the conviction or discharge of another person of the offence is considered proof that the offence was committed. In other words, if someone has already been convicted or discharged of a crime, it is reasonable to conclude that the crime actually took place. This presumption exists unless there is evidence to the contrary. One of the potential benefits of this provision is that it can save time and resources in criminal trials. Suppose a person has already been convicted of a crime. In that case, it may not be necessary to relitigate issues such as the actus reus (the guilty act) or mens rea (the guilty mind) because these have already been established. It also means that prosecutors may not need to call as many witnesses or present as much evidence, which can reduce the cost and length of the trial. By admitting evidence of the prior conviction, the prosecution can focus on proving the specific element of the crime that relates to the accused's involvement. However, this provision is not without controversy. One of the main criticisms is that it violates the principle of hearsay. Hearsay is an out-of-court statement made by someone other than the witness who is testifying, and such statements are generally considered inadmissible in court because they are less reliable than firsthand testimony. The idea behind this rule is that a person who makes a statement outside of the courtroom cannot be cross-examined to determine the veracity of their testimony. In the case of Section 657.2(2), the concern is that admitting evidence of a prior conviction is hearsay because it involves relying on someone else's out-of-court statement (the conviction) rather than direct evidence that the accused committed the crime. However, the Supreme Court of Canada has held that this provision does not violate the hearsay rule because it falls within one of the exceptions to the rule, known as the "res gestae" exception. This exception allows for certain types of hearsay evidence to be admitted if they are closely connected in time and circumstance to the events under consideration. In conclusion, Section 657.2(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that allows evidence of the conviction or discharge of another person of the offence to be admissible against an accused charged with being an accessory after the fact. While this provision has some benefits in terms of efficiency and resource conservation, it is also controversial because it raises concerns about hearsay evidence. Despite these criticisms, the provision remains part of Canadian law and has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada as a valid exception to the hearsay rule.

STRATEGY

Section 657.2(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a powerful tool for the prosecution when charging an individual with being an accessory after the fact to an offence. This section allows evidence of a conviction or discharge of another person of the offence to be admissible against the accused, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is proof that the offence was committed. As such, when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code, there are several strategic considerations that must be taken into account. One of the primary strategic considerations is the nature of the offence in question. If the offence is one that is relatively minor and has a low level of public interest, then the use of this section may not be necessary. However, if the offence is a serious and highly publicized one, then the use of this section may be crucial. In such cases, the prosecution will want to ensure that they have a strong case and that they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of being an accessory after the fact. Another strategic consideration is the evidence that is available to the prosecution. To use this section effectively, the prosecution will need to have evidence of the conviction or discharge of another person of the offence. This evidence can take many forms, including witness testimony, documentary evidence, or physical evidence. The prosecution will need to carefully consider which pieces of evidence will be most effective in proving their case. A third strategic consideration is the strength of the defence case. If the defence is strong and can effectively challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution, then the use of this section may be less effective. In such cases, the defence may argue that the evidence linking the accused to the offence is weak or circumstantial, and that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There are several strategies that the defence can employ when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code. One strategy is to challenge the admissibility of the evidence. The defence may argue that the evidence is hearsay, unreliable, or irrelevant, and should not be admitted. Another strategy is to attack the credibility of the evidence. The defence may argue that the evidence is based on unreliable witness testimony, or that the prosecution has not adequately proven that the evidence is true. In conclusion, Section 657.2(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a powerful tool for the prosecution when charging an individual with being an accessory after the fact. When dealing with this section, both the prosecution and the defence must carefully consider the nature of the offence, the evidence available, and the strength of their respective cases. By employing effective strategies, both sides can make their case and present a compelling argument in court.