The Impact of Vaillancourt v. the Queen on Canadian Criminal Law


  • Isabel Grant



The 1987 Supreme Court decision of Vaillancourt Struck down s. 213(d) of the Criminal Code, finding that the constructive murder provision violated ss. 7and 11(d) of the Charter. This paper looks at how the courts have since applied Vaillancourt to other sections of the Criminal Code, particularly the remaining murder provisions. The analysis is based largely on a consequence-circumstance distinction, where legally consequences involve the harm caused by the accused and the circumstances refer to conditions that must be shown to exist before there can be a conviction. However, because murder is a unique crime with a "special stigma" attached to it, courts will not allow an objective standard of mens rea to form the basis of a murder conviction.