Thursday, January 31, 2013

Not a long vacation

And now a quick look at some decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, the delivery of which reminds us that in the Northern Hemisphere it is not the season for long vacations.

In R v Manning, 2013 SCC 1 (17 January 2013) legislation required a judge to take into account particular circumstances relating to the offence and the offender, but the judge applied also the broad principles of sentencing, when deciding whether to order forfeiture of a motor vehicle. The judge was wrong.

In R v O'Brien, 2013 SCC 2 (17 January 2013) on a charge of uttering threats a mens rea element is the intention that the words intimidate or be taken seriously by the person spoken to. The defendant had said to his ex-girlfriend that he would kill her if she had an abortion, and the trial judge held the intent was not proved. Crown's appeal against acquittal dismissed.

R v Ryan, 2013 SCC 3 (18 January 2013) holds that in common law duress the threat must be made to encourage the defendant to commit the offence. Therefore duress was not available where the defendant counselled the murder of her abusive husband, relying on his conduct as threatening.