Beatty, J.F., and the Law of Manslaughter


  • Larry C. Wilson



In this article, the author argues that the recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions in R. v. Beatty and R. v. J.F. have clarified several of the issues that have plagued the increasingly complicated offence of manslaughter. In particular, the decisions address the redundancy among the many manslaughter provisions in the Criminal Code, the need to define a clear separation between actus reus and mens rea, and the need to establish distinct categories of objective fault for different types of manslaughter offences. The author examines the legal background of these decisions as well as the current state of the law. He concludes by identifying emerging issues relating to the offence of manslaughter, arguing that the law remains convoluted and in need of urgent reform despite the progress made in the Beatty and J.F. decisions.