Criminal Code: Murder or Manslaughter

The word "Court" intertwined in the fascia above the side entrance to Toronto's Old City Hall from the dayIn online conversations I’ve had regarding the Colten Boushie killing, there seems to be some confusion about the law, but there doesn’t have to be in this Internet age when we can access Canadian law online.

Citizens don’t need to be lawyers to read The Criminal Code of Canada and discover the difference between what we think our laws are and what they actually are.

Although I am not a lawyer, I have highlighted what I think are the pertinent portions of the Criminal Code that are potentially relevant to the Colten Boushie killing.

Culpable homicide (4) Culpable homicide is murder or manslaughter or infanticide. Marginal note:Idem (5) A person commits culpable homicide when he causes the death of a human being, (a) by means of an unlawful act; (b) by criminal negligence; (c) by causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death; or (d) by wilfully frightening that human being, in the case of a child or sick person.

Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide Marginal note:Murder 229 Culpable homicide is murder (a) where the person who causes the death of a human being (i) means to cause his death, or (ii) means to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and is reckless whether death ensues or not; (b) where a person, meaning to cause death to a human being or meaning to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and being reckless whether death ensues or not, by accident or mistake causes death to another human being, notwithstanding that he does not mean to cause death or bodily harm to that human being; or (c) where a person, for an unlawful object, does anything that he knows or ought to know is likely to cause death, and thereby causes death to a human being, notwithstanding that he desires to effect his object without causing death or bodily harm to any human being.

Murder reduced to manslaughter 232 (1) Culpable homicide that otherwise would be murder may be reduced to manslaughter if the person who committed it did so in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation. Marginal note:What is provocation (2) Conduct of the victim that would constitute an indictable offence under this Act that is punishable by five or more years of imprisonment and that is of such a nature as to be sufficient to deprive an ordinary person of the power of self-control is provocation for the purposes of this section, if the accused acted on it on the sudden and before there was time for their passion to cool. Marginal note:Questions of fact (3) For the purposes of this section, the questions (a) whether the conduct of the victim amounted to provocation under subsection (2), and (b) whether the accused was deprived of the power of self-control by the provocation that he alleges he received, are questions of fact, but no one shall be deemed to have given provocation to another by doing anything that he had a legal right to do, or by doing anything that the accused incited him to do in order to provide the accused with an excuse for causing death or bodily harm to any human being.

Manslaughter 234 Culpable homicide that is not murder or infanticide is manslaughter.

Manslaughter 236 Every person who commits manslaughter is guilty of an indictable offence and liable (a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and (b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.

Conviction for infanticide or manslaughter on charge of murder (3) Subject to subsection (4), where a count charges murder and the evidence proves manslaughter or infanticide but does not prove murder, the jury may find the accused not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter or infanticide, but shall not on that count find the accused guilty of any other offence. Marginal note:

You are, of course, welcome to check out the law for yourself: