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Regina v. City of Sault Ste. Marie

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    Bloomberg Law

    Brief Fact Summary. Facts are not included in the text.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. An intermediary category of offenses should be created in order to fulfill the public welfare goals of strict liability offenses while protecting the entirely blameless individual from being punished.

    Facts. Facts are not included in the text. .

    Issue. Are there compelling grounds for the recognition of a third category of offenses in addition to the traditional two: strict liability and fault?

    Held. Yes.
    This opinion discusses arguments for and against strict liability and concludes that an intermediary category of offenses should be created in order to fulfill the public welfare goals of strict liability offenses while protecting the entirely blameless individual from punishment.

    Those arguments for strict liability include protection of social interests because they require a high standard of care and if people know that they will be held strictly liable for committed such acts they will be more aware of their actions; strict liability offences are efficient and effective ways of ensuring compliance with regulatory legislation and the public interest with regard to such legislation outweighs the private burden; and finally, strict liability offenses generally do not carry the stigma or penalties associated with conviction for a criminal offense.

    Arguments advanced against strict liability is that it violates the fundamental principles of penal liability; it rests on assumptions for which empirical evidence has not yet been established; the accused still suffers losses as a result of conviction and public interest does not outweighed by the private interest.


    Discussion. The opinion in this case posits an intermediary category of offences in which the prosecution is not required to prove the existence of mens rea because taking the prohibited action itself is prima facie evidence of the offence. Once it is shown that the prohibited act was taken, the accused has the opportunity to avoid liability by proving that he took all reasonable care. This case offers insight into the arguments for and against the existence of strict liability offenses and should be read as a discussion and not as a case that sets forth a rule of law.


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