Parliament intended concept of “disturbed” mind to be broad and flexible legal standard

Supreme court | Infanticide

GENERAL

Parliament intended concept of “disturbed” mind to be broad and flexible legal standard

Accused charged with two counts of second degree murder. Accused admitted giving birth to two babies and abandoning them in dumpsters. Expert witnesses gave conflicting opinions on whether accused’s mind was “disturbed” at time of offences. Trial judge had reasonable doubt that accused’s mind was disturbed and so found her guilty of lesser included offence of infanticide. Majority of Court of Appeal upheld acquittals for murder. Appeal dismissed. Parliament intended concept of “disturbed” mind to be broad and flexible legal standard. Defence was not required to show causal link between disturbance and commission of offences. Trial judge did not err in his analysis of issue.
R. v. Borowiec (Mar. 24, 2016, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., Abella J., Cromwell J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Wagner J., and Brown J., 36585) Decision at 123 W.C.B. (2d) 351 was affirmed. 128 W.C.B. (2d) 487.


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