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Updated and corrections / mise à jour et corrections: 20 November 2008

by / par ©François Lareau, 2007, Ottawa, Canada
First posted officially on the Internet: 15 October 2007:

Selected Bibliography on the Defence of Accident


Bibliographie choisie sur la défense d'accident

See also my bibliographies on negligence and impossibility at http://www.lareau-law.ca/impossibility.html
Voir aussi ma bibliographies sur la négligence et l'impossibilité à  http://www.lareau-law.ca/impossibility.html

ALEXIADIS, Stergios, "Grece [Greece]: Crimes against the Environment in Greece", (1994) 65 Revue internationale de droit pénal / International Review of Penal Law 959-971; note: Colloque préparatoire, section 1, Les atteintes à l'environnement, problèmes de droit pénal général, Ottawa (Canada), 2-6 novembre 1992;

"Physical impossibility, equatable with absolute or irresistible force (vis absoluta) excludes the existence of the 'act' as an element of the crime." (p. 968)

AUSTRALIA, Queensland, Criminal Code 1899, section 23; available at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/cc189994/  (accessed on 12 October 2007);


(1) Subject to the express provisions of this Code relating to negligent acts and omissions, a person is not criminally responsible for--

(a) an act or omission that occurs independently of the exercise of the person's will; or
(b) an event that occurs by accident.

(1A) However, under subsection (1)(b), the person is not excused from criminal responsibility for death or grievous bodily harm that results to a victim because of a defect, weakness, or abnormality even though the offender does not intend or foresee or can not reasonably foresee the death or grievous bodily harm.

(2) Unless the intention to cause a particular result is expressly declared to be an element of the offence constituted, in whole or part, by an act or omission, the result intended to be caused by an act or omission is immaterial.

(3) Unless otherwise expressly declared, the motive by which a person is induced to do or omit to do an act, or to form an intention, is immaterial so far as regards criminal responsibility."

___________Queensland Government, Department of Justice and Attorney- General, Review of the Accident and provocation defences of homicide, October 2007, available at  http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/ourlaws/papers/ReviewBROCHUREHomicidediscussion.pdf  (accessed on 12 October 2007); important contribution;

___________Queensland Law Reform Commission,  A Review of the excuse  of accident, Queensland Law Reform Commission, 2008, iv, 140 p. (series; Discussion paper; 62), ISBN: 9780724277552; available at http://www.qlrc.qld.gov.au/AccidentProvocation/docs/WP62.pdf (accessed on 27 August 2008);

___________Queensland Law Reform Commission,  A Review of the excuse  of accident and the defence of provocation, Queensland Law Reform Commission, 2008, xi, 524 p. (series; report; 64), ISBN: 978 0 7242 7757 9; available at http://www.qlrc.qld.gov.au/reports/R%2064.pdf (accessed on 11 November 2008);

___________Tasmania, Criminal Code Act 1924, subsection 13(1); available at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/tas/consol_act/cca1924115.txt  (accessed on 11 October 2007);

"13(1)  No person shall be criminally responsible for an act,  unless it is voluntary and intentional; nor, except as hereinafter  expressly provided, for an event which occurs by chance."

AVINOR, Shaul, "The Fallacy of the Conventional Theory on the Historical Development of the Concept of Criminal Liability", (2004) 15 Criminal Law Forum 411-466;

"76 For example, Heinrich Brunner, on whom Wigmore draws, argues that the early law did not understand the concept of accident because it always sought to attach liability by employing a simplistic causal-physical test. Wigmore, supra note 15, at 319 ["Responsibility for Tortious Acts: Its History --Part I", (1894) 7 Harvard Law Review 315]¸ (quoting Brunner, who contends that ‘‘[t]he early law knows no such thing as accident, but seeks always for something to make answerable, and determines it, by a scarcely appreciable causation-nexus, from the condition of the harmful result (emphasis added" (p. 434)

BAUDRY, Henri, La force majeure en droit pénal, Lyon : Impr. lyonnaise, 1938, 236 p.; thèse, Université de Lyon, Faculté de droit; titre noté dans mes recherches mais thèse non consultée;

BLACKWOOD, John B., "The Defence of Accident in the Tasmanian Criminal Code", (1981) 7(1) University of Tasmania Law  Review 97-112; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX Periodicals, KTA 0 .U547;

BOURQUE, Sophie (Mme la juge), "Les moyens de défense", Barreau du Québec, École, Droit pénal: Infractions, moyens de défense et peine, Cowansville: Éditions Yvon Blais, 2007, aux pp. 175-207, voir sur l'accident, la p. 189 (Collection; Collection de droit 2007-2008; vol. 12), ISBN: 9782896350322; copie à la Bibliothèque de la Cour suprême du Canada, KF 385 ZB5 C681 v. 12 1007-08;

"Contrairement à ce que l'on pourrait penser, la défense d'accident est plutôt rare et il y a, tout compte fait, peu de jurisprudence sur la question.  Peut-être doit-on y voir le résultat de l'exercice judicieux du pouvoir discrétionnaire de la Coronne de porter des accusations. [...]

L'accusé pourra bénéficier d'une défense d'accident lorsque les gestes posés l'ont été accidentellement, c'est-à-dire de façon non intentionnelle et involontaire.  La caractéristique fondamentale de cette défense réside dans l'imprévisibilité d'un événement qui survient inopinément, hors du contrôle d'une personne.  Il y a donc deux composantes; premièrement, c'est un événement qui n'a pas été voulu et secondement il était imprévisible." (p. 189)

BURBIDGE, George Wheelock, 1847-1908, A Digest of the Criminal Law of Canada (Crimes and Punishments) Founded By Permission on Sir James Fitzjames Stephen's Digest of the Criminal Law, Toronto: Carswell, 1890, lxiii, 588 p., and see article 206 at pp. 202-202; pdf completed on 4 September 2006;
- Table of Contents and Index
- i-lxiii and 1-41 (Cover page; Table of cases cited; Table of statutes cited (U.K. and Canada); List of Abbreviations; Contents; articles 1-34);
- 42-140    (articles 35-184);
- 141-239  (articles 185-308);
- 240-340  (articles 309-434);
- 341-448  (articles 435-561);
- 449-537  (articles 562-629 and Appendix of Notes);
- 539-588   (Index; p. 538 is blank)

California Penal Code, available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.html/pen_table_of_contents.html  (accessed on 14 October 2007),

"26. All persons are capable of committing crimes except those belonging to the following classes: ...

Five--Persons who committed the act or made the omission charged through misfortune or by accident, when it appears that there was no evil design, intention, or culpable negligence."

"195. Homicide is excusable in the following cases:
   1. When committed by accident and misfortune, or in doing any other lawful act by lawful means, with usual and ordinary caution,
and without any unlawful intent.

2. When committed by accident and misfortune, in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or upon a sudden
combat, when no undue advantage is taken, nor any dangerous weapon used, and when the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner."

CHILE/CHILI, Codigo Penal, at http://web.archive.org/web/20020305071522/http://www.viajuridica.cl/index.asp?art=81&dc=38449; (accessed 13 October 2007; web archive) and  ttp://www.unifr.ch/derechopenal/ley.htm (accessed on 19 May 2006);

"Art. 10. Están exentos de responsabilidad criminal: ...
8. El que con ocasión de ejecutar un acto lícito, con la debida diligencia, causa un mal por mero accidente."

CHINA, Penal Code, article 16;

Article 16. Although an act objectively creates harmful consequences, if it does not result from intent or negligence but rather stems from irresistible or unforeseeable causes, it is not a crime.

CLARK, R.S., "Accident -- Or What Became of Kilbridge v. Lake?" in R.S. Clark, ed., Essays on Criminal Law in New Zealand, Wellington: Sweet and Maxwell, 1971, 224 p. at pp. 47-66;

DAUBE, "Error and Accident in the Bible",  (1949) 2 Revue internationale des droits de l'antiquité 189-213; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX Periodicals, K 589 .R47;

ECUADOR/ÉQUATEUR, Código Penal Ecuador, available at http://www.unifr.ch/ddp1/derechopenal/legislacion/ec/cpecuidx.htm (vérifié le 13 octobre 2007);

 "Art. 15.- La acción u omisión prevista por la ley como infracción no será punible cuando es el resultado de caso fortuito o fuerza mayor."

EDELMAN, James J., "Preventing Intentional 'Accidents': Manslaughter, Criminal Negligence and Section 23 of the Criminal Codes", (1998) 22 Criminal Law Journal 71-81; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX Periodicals, KTA 0 .C735 ;

ELLIOTT, Ian D., "Mistakes, Accidents and the Will: The Australian Criminal Codes", (1972)  46 Australian Law Journal 255-268 and 328-338; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX Periodicals, KTA 0.A95;

FERGUSON, Gerry A.et  John C. Bouck, CRIMJI, Canadian criminal jury instructions, version  française / Gerry A. Ferguson, John C. Bouck ; adaptée de la version anglaise par Jean-Paul Bergeron,  Ottawa : Institut national de la magistrature, c1992, 2 v., et voir "Pur Accident", au vol. 1, pp. 8:00-2 à 8:00-4; note: Traduction de: CRIMJI : Canadian criminal jury instructions;  copie à la Bibliothèque de la Cour suprême du Canada, KF9682 F4714 1992;

FERGUSON, Gerry A, Michael R. Dambrot and Elizabeth A. Bennet, CRIMJI: Canadian criminal jury instructions, 4th ed.,  Vancouver : Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, c2005-, 2 volumes, and see "CRIMJI 8.00 Accident or Lacking Intent"; copy at the Library of the Supreme Court of Canada, KF9682 F47 2005 v. 1 and 2; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX Reserve, KE 9350 .F474;

FISSE, Brent, Howard's Criminal Law, 5th ed., Sydney: The Law Book Company, 1990, cxxiii, 660 p., ISBN: 0455207321 and 045520733X (pbk.);

"Another way in which voluntariness is sometimes denied is by D's saying that he caused the external elements of the offence charged by accident, a concept expressly recognised under the Queensland and Western Australian Codes.  Although the word 'accident' is a convenient way of summarising the absence of the requisite mental element of any offence in question, it is not in itself a separate defence.  To say that a result was caused by accident means only that it was caused without intention, recklessness or negligence on D's part with respect to that result." (p. 421)

FLETCHER, George P., "Excuse: Theory", in Joshua Dressler, Editor in Chief, Encyclopedia of Crime & Justice, 2nd ed., New York/Detroit etc.: Macmillan Reference USA, Gale Group, Thomson Learning, 2002, vol. 2, pp. 637-643, ISBN: 0028653211 (vol. 2) and 002865319X (set of 4 volumes);

"The excuse of  per infortunium has undergone a reconceptualization and functions now in the form of a denial that the killing was either intentional or negligent." (p. 642)

FORTIN, Jacques, 1937-1985, et Louise Viau, Traité de droit pénal général, Montréal: Éditions Thémis, 1982, xi, 457 p., et voir les pp. 199-200;

  "La force majeure exclut toute faute de la part de l'accusé puisque toute personne raisonnable ne ferait pas mieux dans les circonstances.  La personne n'exerce pas un choix puisque la situation est déterminée par la force majeure ou le cas fortuit."  (p. 200; not: on retrouve cette phrase sous la rubrique de L'impossibilité absolue)

FRANCE, Code pénal 1791, 2e partie, titre 2, section 1, art. 1, disponible à http://ledroitcriminel.free.fr/la_legislation_criminelle/anciens_textes/code_%20penal_25_09_1791.htm  (site du professeur Doucet visité le 13 octobre 2007);

"Article 1

En cas d'homicide commis involontairement, s'il est prouvé que c'est par un accident qui ne soit l'effet d'aucune sorte de négligence ni d'imprudence de la part de celui qui l'a commis, il n'existe point de crime, et il n'y a lieu à prononcer aucune peine ni même aucune condamnation civile."

FRYLING, Tina, "Accident as a Defense to Criminal Liability", in Richard A. Wright and J. Mitchell Miller, eds., Encyclopedia of Criminology,  Scarborough : Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2004, vol. 1, at pp. 5-7; copy at the Library of the Supreme Court of Canada, HV 61017 E53 2005 REF;


GIBBS,  Sir Harry, "Queensland Criminal Code: From Italy to Zanzibar", (April 2003) 77 The Australian Law Journal 232-239; available at  http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/library/exhibition/crimcode/20020719_Harry%20Gibbs.pdf (accessed on 12 October 2007);

"One weakness of the Stephen Code was its failure to deal satisfactorily with the general principles of criminal responsibility – the subject with which Griffith dealt in Chapter V of the Code. On this subject, Griffith derived particular assistance from Zanardelli. The first paragraph of section 23, which stated that "subject to the express provisions of this Code relating to negligent acts or omissions, a person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission which occurs independently of the exercise of his will, or for an event which occurs by accident" corresponded, accordingly to Griffith, with Article 45 of the Zanardelli Code. (17) Although a section framed in those terms might be regarded as a typical enough provision of a law in the civil law system, its history shows that it is impossible in the common law system to frame a law which precludes the judges from giving their own meaning to it." (p. 8).
"(17) Griffith, Criminal Responsibility - A Chapter from a Criminal Code, 12 Jan 1898, p 897" (p. 17)

GREAT BRITAIN,  House of Commons, Bill 178, Criminal Code (Indictable Offences), 1878,  xviii, 218 p.; British Parliamentary Papers,  (1878), vol. 2, pp. 5-245; notes:  Bill drafted by Sir James Fitzjames Stephen; first reading in the House of Commons on 14 May 1878 (introduced by the Attorney General Sir John Holker);  

"Section 126.

It is not an offence to cause death or bodily harm accidently by an act which is not unlawful.

For the purpose of this section every effect is accidental which is not caused by an act done with the intention of causing it, unless its occurence as a consequence of the act which does cause it is so probable that a person of ordinary prudence ought, under the circumstances in which the act causing death or bodily harm is done, to take reasonable means  to prevent the occurence of death or bodily harm in consequence thereof, in which  case if death or bodily injury  occurs by reason of the act done, such death or bodily harm is caused within the meaning of this section by the omission of the precaution which would have prevented its occurence. 

For the purpose of this section the expression 'unlawful act' includes --
(i.) Acts punishable by law or involving penalties;
(ii.) Acts constituting actionable wrongs;
(iii.) Acts injurious to the public as being contrary to public policy or morality." (p. 52)

HALL, Clifford G., "The Plea of Accident in the Criminal Law", (December 2001) 11(2) The Caribbean Law Review 208-234; title noted in my research but article not consulted;

HALLEY, Paule, 1964-, "Les accidents de pollution en droit pénal de l’environnement" dans Service de la formation permanente du Barreau du Québec, sous la direction de, Développements récents en droit de l’environnement, 1999 à la p. 261;

___________Le droit pénal de l'environnement: l'interdiction de polluer, Cowansville: Éditions Yvon Blais, 2001, xxi, 403 p., voir  "La notion d’accident en droit pénal de l’environnement" aux pp. 151-158, ISBN: 2894515103; copie à la bibliothèque de la Cour suprême du Canada, KF 3775 ZB5 H35 2001;

HOCKING, Barbara Ann, "Criminal Cases in the High Court of Australia", (1994) 18 Criminal Law Journal 344-347; deals with R v Van Den Bemd;  copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX Periodicals,  KTA 0 .C735;

HOWARD, Colin, 1928-, Criminal Law, 4th ed., Sydney: The Law Book Company, 1982, lxi, 452 p., ISBN: 045520457 and 0455204586 m(pbk.),

"The leading case is Vallance v. The Queen89 in the High Court.  Vallance came on appeal from Tasmania and therefore turned on the wording of the Tasmanian Code, which in s. 13(1) refers to events which occur by 'chance' instead or by 'accident', the word used in the other two codes [Queensland and Western Australia], but so far as the meaning of 'accident' is concerned this difference is immaterial.90  The chief question in the case was whether rcklessness was a criterion of criminal responsibility under the Tasmanian Code, as to which it was held that it was, but accident, or chance, came up for discussion as well. The majority opinion was that an event occurs by chance, or accident, ifd it is neither intended nor foreseen by D and is in addition an occurence that no ordinary person would have expected to happen as a result of D's conduct.91  More succinctly it has been said that in Vallence the High Court decided that 'any event that is unintended, unforeseen and unforeseeable occurs by accident'.92  A rule of accident in these terms goes no further than the limits of intention, recklessness and negligence, for an event which is unintended, unforeseen and unforeseeable is an event as to which D is neither intentional nor reckless nor negligent.  The effect of Vallence in this context therefore is to make clear that the normal rules of criminal responsibility relating to th mental element in crime are not modified under the codes by any separate doctrine of accident....
89. (1961) 108 C.L.R. 56.
90. Mamote-Kulang of Tamagot v. The Queen (1964) 111 C.L.R. 62, 69, 72, 84.
91. Dixon C.J., Kitto and Windeyer JJ. at (1961) 108 C.L.R. 56, 61, 65, 82.  Menzies J. at 73 would have limited chance events to unforeseen events.  Taylor J. expressed no opinion.
92. Mamote-Kulang of Tamagot v. The Queen (1964) 111 C.L.R. 62, 84.  Similarly Ward v. R., [1972] W.A.R. 36, 46." (p. 390)

INDIA, Indian Penal Code, available at http://www.vakilno1.com/bareacts/indianpenalcode/indianpenalcode.htm and at  http://498a.org/contents/ipc_explained.pdf (accessed on 27 September 2007 (both accessed on 27 September 2007);  

"80. Accident in doing a lawful act
Nothing. is an offence which is done by accident or misfortune, and without any criminal intention or knowledge in the doing of a lawful act in a lawful manner by lawful means and with proper care and caution.

A is at work with a hatchet; the head flies off and kills a man who is standing by. Here, if there was no want of proper caution on the part of A, his act is excusable and not an offence."

ITALY, The Italian penal code / translated by Edward M. Wise, in collaboration with Allen Maitlin; introduction by Edward M. Wise, Littleton (Colorado) : F. B. Rothman, 1978, xlvi, 249 p. see Article 45, "Accident or Force Majeure" at p. 16 (series; American series of foreign penal codes; volume 23), ISBN: 0837700434; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX General, KJF 1061 .A7C7 1978;

"Article 45. Accident or Force Majeure.
    Anyone who has committed an act through accident or force majeure shall not be punishable."
"Art. 45 - Caso fortuito o forza maggiore
   Non è punibile chi ha commesso il fatto per caso fortuito o per forza maggiore."
(see  Codice penale)

KENNY, Graham, "Abrogation of the 'Egg Shell' Skull Theory in Queensland Criminal Law: R v Van Den Bemd, (1994) 18 University of Queensland Law Journal 121-124; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX Periodicals, KTA 0 .U537 ;

KNOLL, Pat, 1950-, Criminal Defences, 3rd ed., Toronto: Thomson/Carswell, 2005, cviii, 179 p., and see "Accident" at pp. 61-62 and "Act of God" for provincial offences at pp. 158-159, ISBN: 0459242938; note: also found in the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest, under the title "Criminal Law Defences";

"The defence of accident is simply a denial of the mens rea required for the offence charged.1  Where the offence requires a mens rea consisting merely in knowledge of certain consequences or that a reasonable person would have foreseen certain consequences, accident may only be a defence inasmuch as the accused did not know of the consequences, or a reasonable person would not have foreseen the consequences.2
1.  R. v. Tennant (1975), 31 C.R.N.S. 1 (Ont. C.A.); R. v. Hughes, 1942¸S.C.R. 517 (S.C.C.).
2   R. v. Tennant (1975), 31 C.R.N.S. 1 (Ont. C.A.)." (p. 61)

"If death results from accident, but the actor was engaged at the time  in an unlawful act that a reasonable person would know would subject another person to risk of at least some harm, the accused will not be guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.1
1   R. v. Tennant (1975), 31 C.R.N.S. 1 (Ont. C.A.)." (p. 61)

"If death results from accident, but the actor was not engaged in an unlawful act, yet was criminally negligent in the act, the accused will be guilty of manslaughter.1
1   R. v. Tennant (1975), 31 C.R.N.S. 1 (Ont. C.A.). ..." (p. 61)

KUNICKA-MICHALSKA, Barbara, and Wojeiech Radecki, "Pologne [Poland].  Protection of the Environment Through the Polish Penal Law", (1994) 65 Revue internationale de droit pénal / International Review of Penal Law 1105-1123; article in English and French / article en anglais et français; part of the Preparatory Colloquium, Section 1, Crimes against the Environment -- General Part, Ottawa (Canada), November 2-6, 1992;

"L'impossibilité physique
    L'impossibilité physique ne fait cependant pas partie de ces circonstances [excluant la délictuosité], car elle écarte la notion d'acte en général.  L'impossibilité physique est traitée comme une force majeure (vis absoluta), l'auteur ne commet donc pas l'acte au sens pénal du droit pénal, et pour cette raison il ne peut être question de responsabilité pénale." (p. 1117)

LAINGUI, André, La responsabilté pénale dans l'ancien droit: XVIe-XVIIIe siècle, Paris: Librairie générale de droit et de jurisprudence, 1970, xii, 367 p., et voir "Le cas fortuit" aux pp. 71-75; contribution importante;

"Le cas fortuit...

Le code pénal de 1810 s'en est désintéressé [..]

Le silence du code s'explique en partie par le principe de la codifiaction qui inscrit les règles de droit brièvement, sans les justifier par les solutions anciennes.  De plus, [le] législteur n'a pas à proclamer l'innocence de celui qui, par définition, n'a commis aucune faute.  Peut-être a-t-on voulu abandonner une tradition qui tenait si fortement au droit romain et canonique.  Enfin, -- c'est sans doute la raison essentielle --, cette tradition gardait une importance capitale dans la pratique antérieure au code pénal, par suite de l'exigence, au cas d'homicide casuel de lettres de rémision.  Or, le droit nouveau ignorait cette pratique.
La réflexion sur le cas purement fortuit présentait, dans l'ancien droit, un inétérêt pratique et un intérêt doctrinal.  L'auteur d'une infraction non intentionnelle prétendait souvent, pour sa défense, que l'accident était dû à un cas fortuit: il importait donc d'éclairer les magistrats." (pp. 71-72)

LAWSON, John Davison, 1852-1921, The adjudged cases on defences to crimes, San Francisco:  Summer Whitney, 1885, vol. 3, see Chapter 8, "Accident", at pp. 408-464; reprint in 19th-century legal treatises ; no. 45567-45625; copy at the Library of the Supreme Court of Canada; available at http://books.google.com/books?id=-xM-AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=intitle:defences+inauthor:lawson&lr=&as_brr=0#PPA408,M1 (accessed on 14 September 2008);


LEGAL AID ONTARIO / AIDE JURIDIQUE ONTARIO -- LAO LAW, "Criminal law Memoranda -- D12-1 Accident Homicide", 25 March 2003, 10 p.; Toronto, catalogue current as of February 1, 2006, available at http://www.legalaid.bc.ca/assets/for_lawyers/LAO%20law%20index/LAOlawindex_Sept07.pdf  (accessed on 9 October 2007);

MEWETT, Allan W., 1930-,  and Morris Manning, Mewett & Manning on Criminal Law (previously published under title: Criminal Law), 3rd ed, Toronto: Butterworths, 1994, lxiv, 959 p., and see  "Accident", at pp. 552-557, ISBN: 0409903752 (bound) and 0433396458 (pbk.);

"In fact, as the cases show, to talk of the defence of 'accident' is at best unnecessary and at worst misleading.  'Accidental', in the context in which it is used in the cases, merely means without the desire or purpose of bringing about the consequence and it is true that for all those offences where the requisite mens rea consists in desire or purpose, an accident, in this sense, is a defence in that it is a denial of the requisite mens rea.  But as we have already seen, in many offences the mens rea consists merely in knowledge that certain consequences will flow from certain acts or, in other offences, that an ordinary reasonable man would have foreseen those consequences.  In these offences an accident is a defence only insofar as the accused did not know of the consequences or only insofar as the ordinary reasonable man would not have foreseen those consequences.  Thus what is relevant is not whether the accused is claiming that what happened was an accident, but whether he is claiming that he lacked one of the elements of the offence charged in that he did not have the requisite intent." (p. 557)

MEXICO, Codigo Penal federal de Mexico,  available at http://www.unifr.ch/ddp1/derechopenal/legislacion/mx/cp_mexico.htm (accessed on 13 October 2007);

"ARTICULO 15 - El delito se excluye cuando:
X - El resultado típico se produce por caso fortuito."

MORGAN, Neil, "Beware! Accident in the High Court! The Queen v Van Den Bemd", (1994) 24 The University of Western Australia Law Review 253-260; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX Periodicals,  KTA 0 .U46;

MORRIS, J.M., "S. 23 of the Criminal Code of Queensland", (1961-64) 4 University of Queensland Law Journal 254-275;

NICARAGUA, Codigo penal de la Republica de Nicaragua, available at http://www.unifr.ch/ddp1/derechopenal/legislacion/ni/cp_nicaragua.htm (accessed on 13 October 2007);

"Circunstancias eximentes de la responsabilidad criminal
Art. 28.- Están exentos de responsabilidad criminal: ...
8º  El que con ocasión de ejecutar un acto lícito con la debida diligencia, causa un mal por mero accidente."

O'REGAN, Robin S, Essays on the Australian Criminal Codes, Sydney: The Law Book, 1979, xix, 152 p., see Essay II, "Involuntariness and Accident" at pp. 15-39, ISBN: 0455199558;

___________"The High Court and the Defence of Accident under the Queensland Criminal Code", (1996) 20 Criminal Law Journal 140-143; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX Periodicals,  KTA 0 .C735;

QUEENSLANDS COURTS, Practice and Procedure, The Queensland Supreme and District Courts Bench Book, "75 Accident s. 23(1)(b)", available at http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/practice/qsdcbb/pdf/benchbook.htm  and http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/practice/qsdcbb/pdf/75%20-%20Accident.pdf (accessed on 12 October 2007);

R. v. Mathisen, 2008 ONCA 747 (CanLII); available at http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onca/doc/2008/2008onca747/2008onca747.html (accessed on 20 November 2008);

  In the criminal law “accident” is used in two senses: it refers either to an unintended act (accident as to the actus reus) or to unintended consequences.
In my view, the trial judge erred in law by failing to leave with the jury the defence of accident as to the actus reus.

RAMIREZ, Juan Bustos and  Manuel Valenzuela Bejas, Le système pénal des pays d'Amérique latine (avec référence au Code pénal type latino-américain), Traduit de l'espagnol par Jacqueline Bernat De Celis, Paris: Éditions A. Pedone, 1983, 159 p., voir "Le mal par accident et le cas fortuit", aux pp. 89-90, ISBN: 2233001184; contribution importante;

    Quelques codes font allusion au fait de causer un mal par simple accident, à l'occasion d'un acte licite réalisé avec la diligence normale (Chili, art. 10, no 8; Honduras, art. 7, no 9; Mexique, art. 15, no X; Nicaragua, art. 28, no 8).  La problématique du cas fortuit, que prévoit le Code pénal de l'Equateur (art. 15), est semblable à celle-ci.  Cette formule, très ancienne, n'a été que sources de confusions.

    Bien qu'une disposition de cette sorte ne devrait pas exister dans un code, elle est importante dans la mesure où elle permet aussi de fonder la typicité.  C'est une formule qui souligne le caractère conscient du comportement incriminé, en mettant l'accent sur son contenu subjectif.  Conformément à cette formule, un comportement ne rentre pas dans le cadre de l'incrimination type s'il ne suppose pas le dol ou au moins la faute (l'absence de diligence normale).  Le contenu subjectif du comportement qui rentre dans le cadre de l'incrimination type est le fondement de l'injuste ou de l'illicte; dans un tel cas on n'a même pas à se poser le problème de la valeur négative du résultat, ni par conséquent le problème de l'imputation de la lésion ou du danger, qui apparaît comme sans objet.

    Il est également fait allusion à l'attribution objective du comportement du comportement.  Il peut arriver que le comportement ne réponde pas à l'incrimination type par rapport à sa signification sociale, et qu'il ne constitue donc pas un acte illicite ou de valeur négative.  Se posent ainsi la théorie de l'attribution et la théorie de l'imputation." (pp. 89-90)

ROBINSON, Paul H., 1948-, Criminal Law Defences, St. Paul (Minnesota): West, 1984, see vol. 1, "§ 63. 1 Accident or Misfortune", at pp. 269-271, ISBN: 0314815139 (set);

"Accident or Misfortune

    Several jurisdictions codify a defense for an actor who commits the act or omission constituting an offense 'through misfortune or by accident, when it appears that there was no evil design, intention, or culpable negligence.'  A number of other states have a similar defense provision applicable only to homicide.

    While these provisions have historical significance, they are now unnecessary restatements, in a defense format, of the requirements of the definitional elements of an offense.  To say that it is a defense that the criminal conduct or omission was committed by a non-negligent accident, is simply to say that all result element offenses require at least proof of negligence as to causing the prohibited result.  This is already mae clear by the culpability requirements of specific offense definitions and in some cases by general provisions that read in a culpability requirment where none is specified." (pp. 269-270; notes omitted)

ROMANIA,  Penal Code, available at http://www.legislationline.org/legislations.php?jid=30&ltid=15 (accessed on 24 September 2007);

"Fortuitous case  

          Art.29 – An act provided in the criminal law, the result of which is the consequence of unforeseeable circumstances shall not be an offence."

STAMMER, Brian J., " 'Nothing We Could Do': The Defence of Act of God in Environmental Prosecutions", (1993) 4 Journal of Environmental Law and Practice 93-118; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX Periodicals, KE 3612 .J687; 

okSTEPHEN, James Fitzjames, 1829-1894, A Digest of the Criminal Law (Crimes and Punishments), 4th ed., London: MacMillan, 1887, 441 p.,and see article 210 at pp. 150-151; the complete book in pdf format is found at my digital library at  http://www.lareau-law.ca/DigitalLibraryTwo.html;

___________ A History of the Criminal Law of England, London: MacMillan, 1883, 3 volumes, see vol. 3, pp. 15-16; available at my Digital Library at  http://www.lareau-law.ca/DigitalLibraryTwo.html;

SUDAN, Laws of the New Sudan -- Penal Code, 2003, available at http://www.unsudanig.org/docs/The%20Penal%20Code%20Act,%202003.pdf (accessed on 29 September 2007);

"Section 47 - “Accident in Doing a Lawful Act”: No act is an offence which is done by accident or misfortune and without any criminal intention or knowledge in the doing of a lawful act in a lawful manner by lawful means and with due care and attention."

TAJIKISTA, Republic of, Criminal Code, available at http://www.legislationline.org/legislations.php?jid=50&ltid=15 (accessed on 6 June 2006);

"Article 31. Guiltless Injurious Action (Accident)

An act is deemed to be committed by accident if a person who committed it didn't realize, shouldn't or couldn't realize the social danger of his act (omission), or he didn't foresee the possibility of socially dangerous consequences , under circumstances of the case shouldn't or couldn't foresee them."

U.K., Ministry of Defence, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict / UK Ministry of Defence, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004, lv, 611 p., and see "Accident", at p. 440, ISBN: 0199244545; copy at the University of Ottawa, FTX General, FTX, KZ 6385 .M285, reserve;


UZBEKISTANE, Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistane, available at http://www.legislationline.org/legislations.php?jid=56&ltid=15 (accessed on 10 June 2006);

"Article 24. Innocent Harm

An act shall be recognized as committed by innocence, if a person, who committed it, was not aware of, should not have not to and could not have realized a socially dangerous nature of his act, or did not foresee socially dangerous consequences thereof, and, according to circumstances of the case, should not have to and could not have foreseen them."

VIETNAM, Code pénal de la République socialiste du Vietnam, 1990, disponible à disponible à  http://www.maisondudroit.org/CodePenal_versionFr/Mdvf.htm (visionné le 9 avril 2004);

"Article 11. Fait imprévu

 N'est pas pénalement responsable celui qui, en raison de la survenance d'un fait imprévu, accomplit un acte causant des conséquences nuisibles à la société, qu'il n'était pas capable ou tenu de prévoir."

___________Penal Code; available at http://www.worldlii.org/vn/legis/pc66/s11.html  (accessed on 2 October 2007);

"Article 11.  Unexpected events

Persons who commit acts which cause harmful consequences to the society due to unexpected events, namely in circumstances which they cannot, or are not compelled to, foresee the consequences of such acts, shall not have to bear penal liability therefor."

VOGEL, Franz Adam, Code criminel de l'empereur Charles V, vulgairement appelé  la Caroline, contenant les loix qui sont suivies dans les Jurisdictions criminelles de l'Empire, et à l'usage des Conseils de guerre des troupes suisses, Maestricht : J.-E. Dufour et Phil. Roux, 1779, xxiv, 340 p., 29 cm ; disponible 4 fiches, LLMC 89-018, pour achat, voir http://www.llmc.com/; copie disponible à ma bibliothèque numérique à http://www.lareau-law.ca/DigitalLibraryTwo.html; voir aussi le site du professeur Doucet qui en a fait une copie en format html, à http://ledroitcriminel.free.fr/la_legislation_criminelle/anciens_textes/la_caroline.htm (site visité le 30 avril 2007; je n'ai pas encore déterminé quelle édition le professeur Doucet a utilisée dans son travail);

"[La Caroline] ARTICLE CXLVI.

De l'homicide arrivé par cas fortuit, contre la volonté d'une personne, & hors le cas d'une défense nécessaire.

    Celui qui fera un ouvrage dans un lieu où l'usage autorise de le faire, & qu'ensuite il arrive par cas fortuit, & contre sa volonté, que quelqu'un soit tué èa l'occasion dudit ouvrage, il en sera disculpé en plusieurs manieres, qu'il n'est pas possible de déduire; & afin que ce cas soit plus intelligible, Nous proposons les exemples suivants.  Un Barbier, rasant quelqu'un dans sa boutique, lieu destiné à cet ouvrage, sera poussé ou jetté par un tiers, en sorte que, par ce mouvement involontaire, il coupe la gorge èa celui qu'il rase.  Un homme tirant à l'arquebuse debout ou assis, dans le lieu accoutumé à cet exercice, & vers le but marqué, si quelqu'un le jettoit fortuitement & contre sa volonté dans le coup qu'il tire, ou si son coup partoit avant qu'il eût bandé son arme, & que de cette maniere quelqu'un vint à être tué, ces deux cas fortuits se trouvent exempts de coulpe.  Mais si au contraire ce Barbier s'étoit avisé de raser dans la rue ou dans un autre endroit extraordinaire, si le tireur déchargeoit son arme dans un lieu où l'on doit présumer qu'il passe du monde, ou s'il manioit son arme imprudemment & sans prévoyance, & que de cette maniere quelqu'un vînt à être tué, l'un et l'autre deviendroient coupables de l'accident arrivé: cependant dans ces sortes de cas d'homicide causés par la légéreté & l'imprudence, contre toute intention, on doit user d'une plus grande clémence que dans ceux où la ruse & la volonté ont eu part.  Les Juges qui seront obligés de prononcer dans ces occasions, consulteront les Gens de Loi sur la peine à infliger.  Les exemples qui viennent d'être proposés sont suffisants pour distinguer un homicide commis par cas fortuit, & de quelle maniere il devient excusable dans les autres cas dont il n'est point fait mention ici.  Nous les avons rapportés dans le dessein de faire connoître l'esprit de la Loi à ceux qui y sont d'ailleurs peu versés, ces sortes de cas se présentant souvent, & les personnes éclairés y prononçant quelquefois des jugements différents.  Il se trouve néanmoins de temps à autre des distinctions très-délicates à faire dans les cas de cette nature, dont on ne sauroit ici donner des éclaircissements à tous ceux qui composent les Tribunaux Criminels: c'est pourquoi les Juges, lorsque lesdits cas se présenteront, & qu'il s'agira de prononcer sur la peine, ne doivent point rejetter le conseil des Gens expérimentés dans les Loix, mais en faire un exact usage." (pp. 223-225)

WAILING, Cornélie, Ingeborg M. Koopmans, Marianne Rutgers, Jan M. Sjöcrona, Nastja van Strien and Peter J.P. Tak, "Pays-Bas [Netherlands]: Crimes against the Environment", (1994) 65 Revue internationale de droit pénal / International Review of Penal Law 1065-1099; article in English; part of the Preparatory Colloquium, Section 1, Crimes against the Environment -- General Part, Ottawa (Canada), November 2-6, 1992;

"Defences of physical impossibility
    According to Section 40 PC, a person who commits an act that he was forced to by necessity is not punishable.  This provision does not seem to be relevant if what happened was totally impossible to prevent (force majeur), in which event there is no question of having committed a criminal offence.  But when it concerns omission offences, a defence of absolute necessity may offer a solution.  This can be significant in the sphere of environmental offences, many of which consist of failure to carry out an administrative regulation or the terms of a licence.  It is conceivable that the responsible member of staff within an industrial enterprise is required by the terms of a licence to take specific action under particular circumstances, because otherwise dangerous waste products might be released.  If he is rendered physically unable to reach the business premises (and futhermore modern methods of communication are also blocked) and a dangerous situation results, then a defence of force majeur may not [sic] apply." (pp. 1088-1089)

WATT,  Amanda, "Controversial  murder defence  proves popular", 12 October 2007, available at  http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,22570991-3102,00.html  (accessed on 11 October 2007);

WATT, The Honourable Mr. Justice David, Ontario Specimen Jury Instructions (Criminal), Toronto: Thomson/Carswell,  [2003], xiii, 1101 p., see "Final 61-A  Accident (Involuntary Act)  at p. 957,  and "Final 61-B Accident (Unintended Consequences)" at p. 958; ISBN: 0459254928; copy at the Library of the Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, KF 9682 W38 2003 c. 01;

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