Summer 2018 - CRIM 230 D100

Criminal Law (3)

Class Number: 6751

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    BLU 10021, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 7, 2018
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    BLU 9660, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    CRIM 135.



Nature, purpose, scope, sources and basic principles of the criminal law. Study of certain fundamental legal concepts such as mens rea, negligence and strict liability. Analysis of the concept of criminal responsibility in Canada. Critical examination of the legislative policies expressed in the Criminal Code. Study of the basic elements of a criminal offence. Examination of the legal principles relating to certain specific crimes and to certain major defences. Impact of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the criminal law.


To develop an understanding of the basic principles of Canadian criminal law. To develop a critical approach towards the policies underlying the criminal law. To instill an awareness of the historical roots of the criminal law. To develop an ability to apply basic legal principles to concrete factual situations.

Course Outlines:

1. Introduction to Canadian Criminal Law: what is criminal law? Criminal law as a form of public law; sources of criminal law; impact of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
2. The Actus Reus Elements of a Criminal Offence: the distinction between the actus reus and mens rea elements of a criminal offence; actus reus as a combination of conduct, circumstances and consequences; omissions; the need for the actus reus and mens rea elements to coincide; the requirement of voluntariness; causation - with particular reference to offences involving homicide.
3. The Mens Rea Elements of a Criminal Offence: Subjective Liability: the distinction between subjective and objective forms of criminal responsibility; knowledge and intention; offences which impose special mens rea requirements in addition to intention and knowledge (e.g., theft, fraud, first-degree murder); offences in relation to which the Charter mandates the imposition of subjective liability (e.g. murder); recklessness and wilful blindness.
4. The Mens Rea Elements of a Criminal Offence: Objective Liability: offences imposing objective liability (e.g., dangerous driving, manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm); Criminal Code sections imposing an elevated standard of care (e.g., medical treatment)
5. The Special Case of Regulatory Offences: Strict and Absolute Liability in Canada: the distinction between regulatory offences and "real crimes"; the nature of strict and absolute liability; impact of the Charter.
6. Modes of Participation in Crime: analysis of the various means by which one may become a party to a criminal offence - actually committing an offence; aiding and/or abetting; counselling; becoming a party by virtue of common intention; and accessory after the fact.
7. Inchoate Crimes: Counselling; attempt; and conspiracy.
8. Mental Disorder as a Defence: NCRMD defence; the distinction between the NCRMD defence and the fitness to stand trial; mental disorder as a partial defence; the defence of automatism; the distinction between the defences of automatism and NCRMD.
9. Defences to a Criminal Charge: mistake of fact and mistake of law; intoxication; necessity; duress; provocation; self-defence and defence of property; and consent.


  • Mid-Term Examination (Multiple Choice and Short Answer) 35%
  • Final Examination (Multiple Choice, Short Answer and Long Problem) 45%
  • Tutorial Participation 10%
  • Short Essay (4 pages maximum) 10%



1. Pocket Criminal Code of Canada (must be latest edition, 2018), (paperback); Toronto: Carswell Legal Publications.

2. Verdun-Jones, S.N., Criminal Law in Canada: Cases, Questions & the Code, (6th Edition). Toronto: Nelson, 2015.

3. Verdun-Jones, S.N., Canadian Criminal Cases: Selected Highlights, (4th Edition). Toronto: Nelson, Canada, 2015.

4. Custom Courseware (Summer, 2018). Available from the SFU Bookstore.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

ATTENTION: STUDENTS WITH A DISABILITY: Please contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities, (MBC 1250 or Phone 778-782-3112) if you need or require assistance, not your individual instructors.  

  • N.B.: Students are reminded that attendance in the first week of classes is important. However, there are no tutorials in the first week.
  • ON CAMPUS COURSES ONLY: Assignments not submitted to the Professor/T.A. during class/office hours must be placed in the security box behind the General Office (ASSC 10125), or submitted as per Professor’s instructions for courses taking place at Surrey Campus. The assignment drop-off box is emptied Monday to Friday at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. only and the contents are date stamped accordingly. No other department’s date stamp will apply (e.g. Library/Campus Security) and the School of Criminology is not responsible for assignments submitted any other way (e.g. slid under office doors). The University does NOT accept assignments by fax. 
  • A student must complete ALL aspects of a course (including assignments, exams, class participation, presentations, chat room components of Distance Education courses and other), otherwise he/she will receive a grade of N. 
  • E-mail policy for on campus courses only: The School of Criminology STRONGLY DISCOURAGES the use of e-mail in lieu of office hour visits. Criminology advises its instructional staff that they are NOT required to respond to student e-mails and that students wishing to confer with them should do so in person during scheduled meeting times.
  • The University has formal policies regarding intellectual dishonesty and grade appeals which may be obtained from the General Office of the School of Criminology.
  • Under GP18, the University has policies and procedures which respond to our obligations under the BC Human Rights Code to provide a harassment and discrimination free environment for the students, staff and faculty of this institution.  Members of this community have an affirmative obligation to safeguard the human rights of others.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.