INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
662(5) For greater certainty, where a count charges an offence under section 220, 221 or 236 arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle or the navigation or operation of a vessel or aircraft, and the evidence does not prove such offence but does prove an offence under section 249 or subsection 249.1(3), the accused may be convicted of an offence under section 249 or subsection 249.1(3), as the case may be.
Section 662(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that clarifies the legal consequences for individuals who face charges for certain offences arising from operating a vehicle, vessel, or aircraft. Specifically, it concerns charges under sections 220, 221, or 236, which respectively pertain to criminal negligence causing bodily harm, criminal negligence causing death, and impaired driving or navigating. The provision establishes that if evidence presented in court fails to prove that the accused committed any of the aforementioned offences but does prove that they committed an offence under section 249 or subsection 249.1(3), then the accused may still be convicted of the latter offence instead. Section 249 covers dangerous driving, while subsection 249.1(3) pertains to impaired driving causing bodily harm. This provision serves to prevent individuals from being acquitted entirely if the evidence fails to establish the exact offence they were charged with but still proves that they were engaging in dangerous or impaired driving. It also provides a degree of flexibility for prosecutors to secure a conviction for a related but different offence if their initial charge cannot be proven. Overall, this provision illustrates the complexity of the Criminal Code and the need for detailed legal provisions to ensure that justice is served fairly and effectively in cases where defendants face multiple charges related to operating a vehicle, vessel, or aircraft.
Section 662(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides clarity in situations where an accused is charged with offences related to the operation of a motor vehicle or vessel, and the evidence does not support such charges but proves another related offence. This section essentially allows the court to convict the accused of a lesser offence if the evidence does not support the primary charges. The section specifically mentions offences under section 220 (criminal negligence causing death), section 221 (criminal negligence causing bodily harm), and section 236 (manslaughter with a motor vehicle). These offences are all considered serious crimes that involve the operation of a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft, and can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment. However, if the evidence presented at trial does not support these charges but proves that the accused committed an offence under section 249 (dangerous driving) or subsection 249.1(3) (failure to stop at the scene of an accident), the court may convict the accused of a lesser offence. This provision is important because it ensures that an accused is not unfairly punished for a crime they did not commit. The evidence presented at trial must support the charges, and if it does not, the court must consider alternative charges that the evidence does support. Moreover, this provision ensures that justice is served in cases where an accused does commit a related offence, but the evidence does not support the primary charges. Dangerous driving and failure to stop at the scene of an accident are serious offences that can have devastating consequences, and it is important that those who commit these crimes are held accountable. In summary, section 662(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that ensures justice is served in cases involving offences related to the operation of a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft. This provision allows for the court to convict an accused of a lesser offence if the evidence does not support the primary charges, and ensures that those who commit related offences are held accountable.
Section 662(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada can be a useful tool for defense counsel in certain circumstances. This section allows for a conviction of a lesser, included offense where the evidence does not prove the original charged offense, but does prove another, lesser offense. Specifically, where a count charges an offense under section 220, 221, or 236 arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle or the navigation or operation of a vessel or aircraft, and the evidence does not prove such offense, but does prove an offense under section 249 or subsection 249.1(3), the accused may be convicted of an offense under section 249 or subsection 249.1(3), as the case may be. One strategic consideration when dealing with this section is to carefully evaluate the evidence in the case and determine if it would be more advantageous for the accused to plead guilty to the lesser, included offense rather than risk being convicted of the originally charged offense. This might occur when the evidence is overwhelming regarding the lesser offense, but weak or uncertain regarding the originally charged offense. In such cases, the accused can plea bargain with the prosecutor to obtain a reduced sentence or a lesser offense conviction. Another strategic consideration is to make strategic evidentiary objections. In many cases, the original charge might be based on evidence related to the blood-alcohol content of the accused, for example, which may be the subject of an evidentiary challenge. In certain cases, successful challenges may help exclude the original charge's evidence from proceedings and therefore weaken the prosecution's underlying case. Additionally, defense counsel can also focus their attention on gaining a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the offense and use them to highlight the potential weaknesses in the case. In other words, it may be prudent to exploit any inconsistencies or contradictions in the evidence to support the defense's case. For example, if the accused was driving erratically due to an adverse medical event, such as a seizure, the defense counsel may strategically argue that the lesser included offense of driving impaired is not applicable, and that the accused was not aware of the events that led to the accident. In certain cases, defense counsel may decide it's in the accused's best interest to challenge the constitutionality of section 662(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada. Strong grounds for such an objection may be that the section violates fundamental principles of natural justice (e.g., the right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence, or the right to due process). In conclusion, section 662(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada can give rise to several strategic considerations when dealing with criminal matters. Some of these strategies may be used in isolation, while others may be employed together to obtain the best possible outcome for the accused. Ultimately, defense counsel must carefully consider the strengths and weaknesses of their case and tailor their strategy to reflect the circumstances surrounding the offense.