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North York   416.243.2500
Vaughan     905.760.1070
Mississauga 905.238.9000
Aurora 905.841.9900

Classifications of Offences

The Supreme Court of Canada in the case of R. vs. Sault Ste. Marie, Set out three classifications of offences. These classifications of Offences apply to Traffic Tickets. It is important to know when defending a charge how the offence is classified. The three classifications are as follows:

Mens Rae

Mens Rae Offences are offences in which the prosecution must prove the mental element (the guilty mind), sometimes referred to as conscientiousness of guilt. Essentially, in addition to proving the actus reus (the guilty act), the prosecution must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to commit the offences.

Strict Liability

Strict Liability Offences are offences where the prosecution does need to prove the mental element (or intention) to commit the offence however the defendant can lead evidence to establish or advance a strict liability defence. This sometimes has the effect of appearing to be a reverse onus on the defendant. Read R. v. Sault Ste. Marie and R. v. Bellomo for more information.

Absolute Liability

Absolute Liability Offences are offences where the prosecution does not have to prove the mental element (Intention) to commit the offence. Simply proving the guilty act beyond a reasonable doubt is sufficient for conviction. Raising a reasonable doubt is somewhat trickier but there are still ways you could raise a doubt.

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