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RATIO

A disturbance contemplated by s. 175(1)(a) must be an externally manifested disturbance (as opposed to the broader “emotional disturbance”) of the public peace, in the sense of interference with the ordinary and customary use of the premises by the public (this can be something as small as being distracted from one’s work).

R. v. Burt [1985] 21 C.C.C. (3d) 138 (Sask. Q.B.)

FACTS

Someone drove a car in Kindersley, Sask at 2:45am in a manner which created excessive or unusual noise, leaving 25ft of tire marks while crossing Main Street. The RCMP followed the car, which had a two block lead, until the car pulled to the right and stopped. When the police caught up to the car, the registered owner was standing beside it.  He ignored the cops and went indoors. The owner was charged under what was then s. 253 of the Vehicles Act (Saskatchewan).

ISSUE

Does the impugned section violate s. 7 of the Charter?

HELD

Yes. Appeal dismissed; trial decision confirmed.

RATIO

The effect of the legislation is to convict the registered owner of a borrowed vehicle of the substantive offence or actual violation committed by another.  It effectively punishes the owner for the act of another and thereby violates s. 7 of the Charter.  

NOTES

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal confirmed this decision on the basis that there was no requirement of fault.

Omissions and states of being

Fagan v. Commissioner of Metropolitan Police [1968] 3 All E.R. 4425 (C.A.)

FACTS

A cop told Fagan to park his car at a precise spot. Fagan did so and the car ended up right on the cop’s foot and the engine stopped. The cop yelled at Fagan to get off his foot and Fagan answered, “Fuck you, you can wait.” After a minor delay, Fagan proceeded to move the car.

ISSUE

Do the facts show that, by his omission, Fagan assaulted the police officer?

HELD

Yes. Appeal dismissed; conviction confirmed.

RATIO

The originally non-criminal act became criminal from the moment the intention was formed to produce the apprehension which flowed from the continuing act.  

NOTES

The actus reus and mens rea need not occur simultaneously; the mens rea can be superimposed on an existing act.

Dissenting judge said that this was a simple omission on Fagan’s part and that there is no analogy between sticks or hands and cars.

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