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R v City of Sault Ste-Marie [1978] 2 SCR 1299


City entered deal with C Disposal for disposal of all refuse. C dumped waste and it ran off into the water


Strict liability offences:
**Reverse onus – on D to prove due diligence (1st defence) – DUE DILIGENCE
***Standard: proof on a balance of probabilities
**2nd defence – I believed in a set of circumstances that if were true would make my act not illegal – MISTAKE OF FACT


Series of criteria for interpreting offences:
**Does it have words like willfully, with intent, knowingly (if doesn’t have these words don’t go to full MR offences).
**Default to strict liability UNLESS leg has made it clear the guilt would follow proof – ex saying it is an absolute offence.

Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that D committed the prohibited act, D must only establish on the balance of probabilities that he has a defence of reasonable care.
**Must look at overall regulatory pattern, the subject matter of the leg, the importance of the penalty, and the precision of the language used will be primary considerations in determining whether the offence is an absolute offence.


This case created the so called halfway house to true crimes and absolute offences


Kinds of Regulatory Offences (2 and 3 have the potential to violate the Charter – because there isn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt of moral blameworthiness – so possible deprivation of liberty (s.7) – also s.11(d)
1. Full MR
2. Strict Liability (allows a due diligence offence) – places the onus on the accused to show on a balance of probabilities that they were duly diligent
**a. Public welfare offences
**b. Reverse onus – on D to prove took reasonable care
***i. Burden to prove that D took all due care
***ii. Standard: proof on a balance of probabilities
**c. 2 defences: Mistake of Fact and Due Diligence
3. Absolute Liability - not open to the accused to exculpate himself by showing he was free off fault
**a. Defenecs that have to do with the fact that the AR wasn’t committed

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