As defined in the Criminal Code of Canada
The Criminal Code or Code criminel is a law that codifies most criminal offences and procedures in Canada. Its official long title is "An Act respecting the criminal law"...
is a culpable homicide with specific intentions.
Culpable homicide is defined as causing the death of a human being,
- By means of an unlawful act;
- By criminal negligence;
- By causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death; or
- By wilfully frightening that human being, in the case of a child or sick person.
Culpable homicide is elevated to murder when
- The person who causes the death of a human being means to cause his death, or means to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death and is reckless whether death ensues or not;
- A person meant to cause the death of a human being or cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and by accident or mistake causes death to another human being, notwithstanding that he does not mean to cause death or bodily harm to that person (see transferred intent
Transferred intent describes the fact that intent can be transferred between victims, between torts, or both. In tort law, there are generally five areas in which transferred intent is applicable: battery, assault, false imprisonment, trespass to land, and trespass to chattels...
- A person, for an unlawful objective, does anything he knows is likely to cause death, and thereby causes death to a human being, notwithstanding that he desires to effect his objective without causing death or bodily harm to any human being.
First and second degree
In Canada, murder is classified as either first or second degree.
|First degree murder
||planned and deliberate
|committed against an identified peace officer
|while committing or attempting to commit hijacking an aircraft
|while committing or attempting to commit sexual assault
|while committing or attempting to commit sexual assault with a weapon
|while committing or attempting to commit aggravated sexual assault
|while committing or attempting to commit kidnapping and forcible confinement
|while committing criminal harassment
|committed during terrorist activity
|while using explosives in association with a criminal organization
|while committing intimidation.
|Second degree murder
||which is not first degree murder. It could be "spur of the moment".
Infanticide is the killing of a newly-born child by its mother where the mother's mind was disturbed as a result of giving birth or of consequent lactation. It is a type of homicide but is excluded from murder.
In addition, depending on the type of homicide offence, there may be different degrees of causation
Causation is the "causal relationship between conduct and result". That is to say that causation provides a means of connecting conduct with a resulting effect, typically an injury. In criminal law, it is defined as the actus reus from which the specific injury or other effect arose and is...
that the prosecutor is required to prove. The general test for causation in all homicide offences is a significant contributing cause
of the victim's death. If the jury finds that the accused committed the murder in the context of one of the offences listed above (criteria (4) of first degree murder), then the jury must be satisfied the accused was a substantial cause
of the victim's death before finding the accused guilty of first degree murder.
The mandatory sentence for any adult (or youth sentenced as an adult) convicted of murder in Canada is a life sentence, with various time periods before a person may apply for parole
Parole may have different meanings depending on the field and judiciary system. All of the meanings originated from the French parole . Following its use in late-resurrected Anglo-French chivalric practice, the term became associated with the release of prisoners based on prisoners giving their...
. The ability to apply for parole does not mean parole is granted.
||Parole ineligibility period
|Second degree murder
|Second degree murder by an offender previously convicted of murder
|Second degree murder (16 or 17 years old at time of the offence)
|First degree murder
|First degree murder (16 or 17 years old at time of the offence)
|First/second degree murder (14 or 15 years old at time of the offence)
Someone guilty of a single murder could have his non-parole period reduced to no less than 15 years under the Faint hope clause
The "Faint hope clause" was the popular name for §745.6 of the Criminal Code of Canada, a statutory provision that allows prisoners who have been sentenced to life imprisonment with a parole eligibility period of greater than 15 years to apply for early parole once he or she has served 15...
There is a clause under which a person convicted of any "personal injury offence" meeting the statutory criteria may be declared a "dangerous offender
In Canada and England and Wales, certain convicted persons may be designated as dangerous offenders and subject to a longer, or indefinite, term of preventive detention in order to protect the public.-Canada:...
". A dangerous offender is sentenced for an indeterminate period of imprisonment and is eligible for parole after serving at least 7 years. An offender convicted of 1st or 2nd degree murder is ineligible to be declared a dangerous offender. However, an offender convicted of manslaughter can be declared a dangerous offender.
Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act is a Canadian statute, which came into effect on April 1, 2003. It covers the prosecution of youths for criminal offences...
(12 years old or older) who is not sentenced as an adult does not face a life sentence. Instead, if convicted of first degree murder, they must serve a maximum sentence of 10 years, with a maximum of 6 of those years spent in custody. If convicted of second degree murder, they must serve a maximum of 7 years, with a maximum of 4 of those years spent in custody.