R v Creighton Twenty Years Later: Harm versus Death Revisited
13 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2013 Last revised: 25 Mar 2014
Date Written: October 28, 2013
This article revisits the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R v Creighton which holds that the requisite mens rea or fault standard for unlawful act manslaughter is objective foresight of bodily harm than is neither trivial nor transient. The article contends, drawing from the dissenting opinion, that the more appropriate fault standard was objective foresight of death. A person convicted of unlawful act manslaughter is eligible to serve a term of life imprisonment. Objective foreseeability of death is the more appropriate standard given that there is a substantial social stigma attached to unlawful act manslaughter, a form of culpable homicide. The current standard is problematic given the breadth of what constitutes “bodily harm” can include all but the most trivial of injuries. Lastly, the article addresses the potential impact of changing the mens rea standard to objective foreseeability of death.
Keywords: Unlawful Act Manslaughter, Homicide, Mens Rea, Fault Standard, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation