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R v Ruzic, 2001 SCC 24

Facts:

Imported drug to Canada. Caught at airport. Said she was forced to. Someone in home country threatened her. Said she didn’t go to police bc she didn’t trust them

Issue(s):

Was the judge correct in giving the jury the common law defence of duress?

Ratio:

It is a PFJ that only voluntary conduct – behaviour that is the product of free will and controlled body, unhindered by external constraints – should attract the penalty and stigma of crim law.

Elements of the Common Law Defence of Duress:
**Not available if: safe avenue of escape (standard is modified objective)
**Threats must be grave – accused must demonstrate some fortitude and do what is reasonable to resist the threat
**Proportionality – proportionality between threat and crim act to be executed (standard is a modified objective standard)
***Should be close temporal connected between the threat and the harm

Analysis:

Moral involuntariness is not the same as moral blameless:
*Blameworthiness deals with the requirement of proving MR
*Involuntariness has nothing to do with MR.

s.17 – limits the defence of duress to a person who is compelled to commit an offence under threats of immediate death or bodily harm from a person who is present when the offence is committed.
**The immediacy and presence requirement, taken together, clearly preclude threats of future harm

Common law defence of duress – does not negate MR or AR, but relieves a person from penal consequences and stigma of a finding of criminal liability


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