January 19, 2014

Regina v. City of Sault Ste. Marie | Case Summary - Canada Supreme Court - 85 D.L.R.3d 161 (1978)

Absolute liability is contended to be the most efficient was of ensuring compliance with minor regulatory legislation and the social ends to be achieved.

This is considered so important as to override the unfortunate by-product which is punishing those free or moral turpitude.

Tendency in most cases is to recognize one of two things:

     1) full mens rea

     2) absolute liability

There are compelling reasons to recognize a third level:

     1) offenses in which mens rea must be proved by the nature of the act or evidence (true criminal nature)

     2) offenses in which there is no need to prove the existence of mens rea but leaving it open to the defendant to prove he took all measures of reasonable care (public welfare offenses)

     3) offenses of absolute liability that do not allow the accused to exculpate himself (clear from the legislature)