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R v Pontes, [1995] 3 SCR 44


P was charged with driving a car in Van at a time when he was prohibited from driving pursuant to s.92 of the Motor Vehicle Act.


Does the combined effect of ss 94(1) and 92 of the Motor Vehicle Act create an offence of absolute or strict liability?


This is an absolute liability offence because the only possible defences are those of mistake of law, which is not a defence – so since there is no defence so it becomes an absolute liability offence.
**When there is no defence of due diligence accorded to the individual then the offence is said to be an absolute liability offence, not a strict liability offence


An accused charged with an absolute liability offence cannot avoid liability by demonstrating that he exercises due diligence.

Defence of Due Diligence:
**2 facets to this defence (2 defences available for strict liability)
***An honest but mistaken belief in facts, which if true, would render the act innocent, or
***That he exercises all reasonable care to avoid committing the offence (due diligence)
**This defence is not available under ss 92 and 94
***If a person says my license was suspended – that is a mistake of law not mis of fact – so the accused could not have that defence


Ss 92 and 94 create an absolute liability offence since they eliminate the defence of due diligence, and the absolute liability offence does not contravene the Charter – because there is no sanction of imprisonment


Even though it took out the words this is an absolute offence, is the section still an absolute liability offence

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