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FACTS

Mrs. Chapin was duck hunting on private property.  A conservation officer who heard the shots came by and arrested Mrs. Chapin when he saw that there was grain serving as bait near where Mrs Chapin was shooting. The Migratory Bird Regulations say that persons may not hunt for migratory birds within ¼ mile of a place where bait has been deposited. Mrs Chapin had not deposited the bait and didn’t even know what it was when the conservation officer showed it to her.

ISSUE

What is the appropriate standard of liability for this regulatory offence?

HELD

This is a strict liability offence. Appeal dismissed.

RATIO

On the evidence, it is unreasonable to convict Mrs. Chapin of this strict liability offence.

NOTES

The evidence showed that Mrs. Chapin took the reasonable care which a reasonable person might have expected to take in all the circumstances or, in other words, that she was in no way negligent.

The preceding is required to absolve people of guilt in strict liability offences.

Intention and knowledge

R. v. Steane [1947] 1 All E.R. 813 (C.C.A.)

FACTS

Steane was a British subject living in Germany when WWII broke out.  He was interned and beaten before he was asked by the Nazis to broadcast propaganda for them, swearing that he was in continual fear for his wife and children. He said he never had the slightest intention of assisting the enemy.  Regardless, he was convicted of collaboration.

ISSUE

Should the charge against Steane of collaborating with the Nazis hold?

HELD

No. Appeal allowed; conviction quashed.

RATIO

The jury was not reminded of the various threats to which the prisoner swore he had been exposed.  The jury may have ignored this evidence when told that a man must be taken to intend the natural consequences of his acts (which is not the case of a man under duress).

NOTES

It's wrong in law to say that the law assumes that the accused acted with the requisite degree of intent.

R. v. Hibbert [1995] 2 S.C.R. 973

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