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FACTS

Ryan wanted to emulate the protagonist of a novel and rob a service station in order to play the lottery, win, and repay the attendant handsomely. As Ryan tied up the attendant, the latter made a sudden movement and Ryan’s loaded and cocked gun went off killing the attendant.

ISSUE

Is Ryan entitled to a new trial since the jury was not instructed on the issue of involuntariness?

HELD

No. Appeal dismissed.

RATIO

If the applicant, being conscious of the situation in which he had put himself, pressed the trigger as a result, however spontaneous, of the man whom he was threatening making some sudden movement, it could not be said that that his action was involuntary so as to make the homicide guiltless.

Kilbride v. Lake [1962] N.Z.L.R. 590 (S.C.)

FACTS

Appellant drove his care in the City of Auckland and parked it.  When he parked and left it, the car had the necessary “warrant of fitness” stuck to its windshield.  A cop came by and saw the car without this required warrant and issued a ticket to the appellant for violating the law, the actus reus of which entailed permitting a vehicle to be on the road and not carrying the necessary warrant of fitness.

ISSUE

Is Appellant liable for the offence of not carrying a warrant of fitness, which disappeared in the appellant’s absence?

HELD

No. Appeal allowed; conviction quashed.

RATIO

If there is no other course of action open to a person, he or she cannot be criminally responsible for an act or omission.  This is distinct from any issue of mens rea.

Acts

Marshall v. R. [1969] 3 C.C.C. 149 (Alta. C.A.)

FACTS

Marshall appealed against a conviction and sentence of marijuana possession.  He was riding in a car with people who had stashed marijuana under a seat and partially covered it with a sweater.  Marshall only became aware of the marijuana late into the road trip.  He chose not to leave when he found out because he had no money to get back home.

ISSUE

Is Appellant liable for the offence of constructive (as opposed to active) possession of marijuana by aiding and abetting the others?

HELD

No. Appeal allowed; conviction quashed.

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