Criminal Negligence Causing Bodily Harm

Criminal Negligence Causing Bodily Harm

The offence of criminal negligence causing bodily harm is outlined in section 221 of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of criminal negligence causing bodily harm when they cause physical harm to another by showing a deliberate or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of others when doing anything or omitting to do anything they have a legal duty to do.

Examples

Person A is driving their pickup truck above the speed limit while person B and person C are sitting in the back of the open cargo area. Person A suddenly breaks hard and person B and person C are thrown out of the truck sustaining serious injuries.

Person B is typing out a text message while waiting to make a left turn and is too distracted to notice that person C has started to cross the intersection. Person B, still typing, moves forward to make their left turn and hits person C, breaking person C’s leg.

Cases

R. v. Vantoba, 2015 ONSC 1569

In R. v. Vantoba, the accused was charged with one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm when he let his dog run loose in a park, where it bit a child’s face.

R. v. Smith, 2012 ONSC 787

In R. v. Smith, the accused was convicted of five counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm when he was driving away from police officers, going double the speed limit and running red lights, and crashed into a minivan, injuring five passengers.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

No Bodily Harm

Where no one sustains bodily harm because of the person’s conduct or the person’s failure to execute their legal duty, the person will not have completed the offence of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

No Criminal Negligence

Where the person did not demonstrate a deliberate or reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others but behaved as anyone else would, they may not have committed the offence of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

For example, if person A is driving through the city obeying all traffic laws and a deer runs onto the street, causing person A to react by swerving into person B, who is seriously injured as a result, person A may not have completed the offence of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

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