section 662(6)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

If evidence does not prove a certain offence, but does prove a related offence, the accused may be convicted of the related offence instead.

SECTION WORDING

662(6) Where a count charges an offence under paragraph 98(1)(b) or 348(1)(b) and the evidence does not prove that offence but does prove an offence under, respectively, paragraph 98(1)(a) or 348(1)(a), the accused may be convicted of an offence under that latter paragraph.

EXPLANATION

Section 662(6) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a rule of statutory interpretation for a specific circumstance. It applies to situations where an individual is charged with an offence under paragraph 98(1)(b) or 348(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, but the evidence presented in court is insufficient to prove that offence beyond a reasonable doubt. In such a scenario, the accused person may still be convicted of an offence under paragraph 98(1)(a) or 348(1)(a), respectively. Paragraph 98(1)(b) of the Criminal Code pertains to the offence of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. This means that an individual is found to have a weapon in their possession, with the intent or purpose to cause harm to someone else. Paragraph 98(1)(a), on the other hand, pertains to simply carrying a weapon. For a conviction under this paragraph, the Crown does not have to prove that the accused person had dangerous intent. Similarly, paragraph 348(1)(b) pertains to breaking and entering a place with the intent to commit an indictable offence. Paragraph 348(1)(a) pertains to simply breaking and entering without a specific intent. What section 662(6) means is that if an individual is charged with possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose (under paragraph 98(1)(b)), but the evidence presented in court does not support that charge, the person may still be convicted of simple weapon possession, which is a less serious offence under paragraph 98(1)(a). Similarly, if someone is charged with breaking and entering a place to commit a crime (under paragraph 348(1)(b)), but the evidence does not support this charge, they can still be convicted of breaking and entering (under paragraph 348(1)(a)). Overall, this provision of the Criminal Code provides some flexibility in the prosecution of criminal offences. It allows for individuals to be convicted of lesser offences if the evidence does not support the most serious charges against them.

COMMENTARY

Section 662(6) of the Criminal Code of Canada pertains to situations where an accused has been charged with an offense under paragraph 98(1)(b) or 348(1)(b), but the evidence does not prove the particular offense specified. In such scenarios, the accused may still be found guilty of an offense under paragraph 98(1)(a) or 348(1)(a), respectively. This provision is crucial in ensuring that justice is served in criminal cases. It allows the prosecution to present an alternative charge, based on the same material fact, that the court can hold the accused liable for. Thus, even if the evidence is not sufficient to prove the particular charge initially laid against the accused, the court may consider the alternative charge, which might still be enough to secure a conviction. The provision is relevant in cases of offenses involving fraud and theft concerning property. Section 98 of the Criminal Code prohibits fraud where an accused person "by deceit, falsehood, or other fraudulent means" defrauds someone of any property, money, or valuable security. Paragraph 98(1)(b) makes it an offense to defraud a person specifically by using a false pretense. On the other hand, paragraph 98(1)(a) relates to general fraud, not involving false pretenses, but where an accused has used any fraudulent means to defraud someone. Similarly, section 348 of the Criminal Code covers offenses related to theft. Paragraph 348(1)(b) stipulates that a person commits theft when they fraudulently obtain property by making or using a false pretense. On the contrary, 348(1)(a) covers general theft, not involving false pretenses, but where property is obtained dishonestly. It's not uncommon for the prosecution in criminal cases to charge an accused with a specific offense but cannot prove that charge due to a lack of evidence. However, section 662(6) of the Criminal Code allows for an alternative conviction, ensuring that justice is served. This provision indicates the importance of evidence in establishing charges in criminal law, emphasizing the need for prosecutors to make charge considerations carefully. In conclusion, Section 662(6) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a crucial legal provision that caters to situations where the evidence is insufficient for the accused's specific charge, but they can still be held liable for an alternate charge. This provision allows for the effective administration of justice in criminal cases while emphasizing the importance of solid evidence in establishing charges in criminal law.

STRATEGY

Section 662(6) of the Criminal Code of Canada establishes an important legal principle that can have significant implications for criminal defense and prosecution strategies. At its core, this provision allows a person charged with an offense under a particular paragraph to be convicted of a different, related offense if the evidence presented at trial supports such a conviction. This means that both defense lawyers and prosecutors may need to carefully consider the potential implications of this provision when planning their strategies and presenting their arguments in court. One key strategic consideration for defense lawyers is whether to challenge the admissibility of evidence related to the alleged offense under paragraph 98(1)(b) or 348(1)(b). If such evidence is deemed inadmissible, this may increase the likelihood that the evidence presented at trial will not support a conviction under either paragraph, potentially leaving the accused with a lesser or even no conviction. However, if the evidence is successfully admitted, the defense may need to carefully assess whether the evidence supports a conviction under paragraph 98(1)(a) or 348(1)(a), and may need to consider presenting additional evidence or argument to challenge such a conviction. Another strategic consideration for defense lawyers is whether to use the potential for a conviction under a different paragraph to negotiate a plea bargain or other favorable outcome with the prosecutor. For example, if the evidence presented at trial suggests that a conviction under paragraph 98(1)(b) is unlikely, the defense may be able to offer a guilty plea to the lesser offense under paragraph 98(1)(a) in exchange for a more favorable sentence or other concessions from the prosecution. For prosecutors, one key strategic consideration is whether to include charges under both paragraphs in the indictment. If the evidence presented at trial supports a conviction under either paragraph, this may result in a double conviction and potentially harsher penalties for the accused. However, prosecutors may choose to include charges under both paragraphs as a way to maximize their chances of securing a conviction and to signal to the defense that they are taking a hard line on the case. Another strategy that prosecutors may consider is presenting evidence in a way that emphasizes the elements of the offense under both paragraphs, as this may increase the likelihood that the evidence will support a conviction under one or both of the paragraphs. Prosecutors may also need to assess the potential implications of a conviction under a different paragraph, including whether this may impact the type and severity of the sentence sought by the prosecution. In summary, section 662(6) of the Criminal Code of Canada introduces an important strategic element in criminal trials, allowing for potential convictions under related but different paragraphs. Both defense lawyers and prosecutors may need to carefully consider the potential implications of this provision when developing their strategies, including whether to challenge the admissibility of evidence, use the potential for different convictions to negotiate a plea bargain, include charges under both paragraphs in the indictment, or emphasize the elements of the offense under both paragraphs in presenting their case.