LAW120 - Criminal Law and The Charter of Rights and Freedom

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-20 13:47:09.117
Last review date 2018-07-20 13:47:20.722

Subject Title
Criminal Law and The Charter of Rights and Freedom

Subject Description
This subject provides the imperative foundation for the intensive criminal law studies that follow in further semesters. The basis of and responsibility for criminal law in Canada is discussed, and the Criminal Code examined as to its purposes, structure, format and uses. The concept of criminal responsibility and the classic defences to a criminal charge are analyzed.

The innovation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 has had a dramatic effect on criminal law in its emphasis on individual rights, and especially those of an accused person. This has compelled the police to be meticulous in their adherence to such procedures as providing information to an accused person, obtaining evidence and conducting searches in a manner sanctioned by statute and precedent law. The principles and purposes of the Charter, its override powers by the state where necessary and appropriate, and the remedies to a Charter breach, are discussed as an integral preface to further criminal studies.

Credit Status
This is a Police Foundations Program credit subject.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Discuss the origins and the people who determine criminal law in Canada
  2. Classify and explain the format of the Criminal Code, its uses and various features.
  3. Explain provisions applicable throughout the Criminal Code that define involvement in a crime, for example: being a party or accessory to an offense, counseling or attempting to commit an offense, and conspiring with another to commit an offense.
  4. Identify criminal responsibility as it applies to intent or negligence in relation to a criminal offence.
  5. Recognize the classic defenses to a criminal charge
  6. Appraise the classic defences to a criminal charge.
  7. Recognize the importance of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and its impact on the Canadian Criminal code.
  8. Apply the rights of a person as contained in sections two through fifteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the range of remedies available to a justice under section twenty-four when a breach occurs.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

Topic Outline

1.    Introduction to the Criminal Code

2.    Legal Words and Phrases

3.    Introduction to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

4.    Actus Reus and Mens Rea

5.    Absolute, Strict and Vicarious Liability

6.    Agents Provocateur P.O.A.

7.    Parties to Offences, Accessory, Counseling, Attempt, Conspiracy

8.    Defenses

Mode of Instruction
This course is delivered In-class (some hybrid learning may be required each week):

Students attend classes on campus each week. All instruction is delivered in a face to face environment.  Some online reading and or assignments may be assigned throughout the duration of the course.

Teaching and Learning Methods:

To ensure that students are engaged as much as possible in the learning process, instructors can use such teaching methods as lectures, films, practical exercises and class and small group discussions.

The mode of delivery will dictate the most appropriate teaching methods available to an instructor.

Prescribed Texts
Martin's Annual Criminal Code, 2017 Student + CD, Greenspan, Edward L., Q.C., Rosenberg, The Honourable Justice Marc, Henein, Marie, LL.B., LL.M.
ISBN: 978-0-88804-936-0
Criminal Law & the Canadian Criminal Code, (6th Edition). Barnhorst, McGraw-Hill Ryerson,   ISBN#9780070329706

Reference Material
Canadian Criminal Cases, Aurora; Canada Law Book, Inc.

Criminal Reports, Toronto; Carswell.

Criminal Law in Canada, Verdun-Jones, S., Toronto; Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1989

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Term Work and Final Examination Requirements:

To pass this course, students must achieve the learning outcomes specified in this course outline.  This achievement is determined through the completion of all course components.  Students must pass both term work and final exam or final assignment (if the final assignment is in lieu of the final exam) in order to pass the course (minimum passing grade 50%).

If you are unable to complete the Final Exam/Assignment in this course, you must provide documentation to support the absence to the instructor within one week.  If necessary, this information will be presented at the promotion meeting for consideration in determining and recommending the final grade.


All assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final examination. Unless students have been granted an extension in advance, late assignments will be penalized accordingly. There is no provision for rewriting late assignments, regardless of the grade awarded.  Students must contact faculty in advance of the due date to discuss extensions. If an assignment is missed due to class absence, any official documentation that might be grounds for arranging a make-up opportunity must be submitted to the faculty member on or before the next scheduled class.  Make-up opportunities do not apply to all graded assignments.

All assignments must be correctly documented and follow the criteria established by the instructor, unless otherwise noted.  For additional information, please refer to Seneca Libraries Guide to Citing Sources:

Test and Exam dates have been pre-arranged and are non-negotiable.  If a test/exam is missed, the student must provide official documentation to support the reason for the absence within one week to the instructor.  Make-up tests or exams will be granted for extenuating circumstances only and at the discretion of the faculty. 

Grading Scheme LAW120:

In-class Sections
In class mini-tests (4 x 5%) 20%
Essay - Case Law 20%
Mid-term examination 25%
Final examination 30%
Participation 5%

Student Success
Please come prepared to participate in class.  Make sure you bring your course text to each class, participate in class discussions, hand in any assigned work on time and attend each and every class.  Following these suggestions will increase your chances of success.

Approved by: Sandra Noble