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Sansregret v. R. [1985] 1 S.C.R. 570

Facts:

Couple had lived together. Violent relationship. Complainant had kicked S out of house. He broke in, she was scared. She pretended for reconciliation and had sex with him, then filed claim with police. Ss parole officer asked her not to pursue the claim. A month later he broke in, with knife, made her strip down and tied her hands. She pretended for reconciliation again because was scared and had sex with him

Issue(s):

Did the accused have an honest belief that the women gave her consent?

Ratio:

Where an accused is deliberately ignorant as a result of blinding himself to reality, the law presumes knowledge (willful blindness), and their belief in another state of facts is irrelevant.

Analysis:

Defence of mistake of fact rests on the proposition that the mistaken belief, honestly held, deprives the accused of the requisite mens rea for the offence.

An honest belief of the accused, even though unreasonably held would negate mens rea.

Recklessness – knowledge of a danger or risk and persistence in a course of conduct which creates a risk that the prohibited result will occur.
**Consciousness of risk and by proceeding in the face of it
Willful blindness – person becomes aware of the need for some inquiry and declines to make the inquiry because he does not want to know the truth.
**Deliberately failing to inquire when he knows there is reason to inquire

Holding:

The accused willfully blinded himself, and so that does not form a defence

Comments:

Narrows the defence from pappajohn – introduces willful blindness.

Levels of Subjective Mens Rea – each has a decreasing knowledge as you go down the list
**Intent of Knowledge
**Recklessness (if found to be reckless her he would have been convicted bc subjective mens rea would be made out)
**Willful Blindness

R v Griffiths
**If there is evidence that the accused knew or believed something to be true because he deliberately closed his eyes to the circumstances - then subjective mens rea can be made out


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