First Degree Murder: Canadian Criminal Code


Criminal codes are an essential part of the law in every country. They help determine the degree of punishment that must be inflicted on the criminals. Different sections in the criminal codes help figure out the damage incurred by the victim and the related charges. Murder is one of the crimes that have many sections and articles in different criminal codes. In the Canadian Criminal Code, murder has been broadly classified depending upon the intention and types of murder.

What is a homicide in the Canadian Criminal Code?

According to section 222 (1), a person commits homicide when they directly or indirectly cause another human being’s death.

Definition of First-Degree Murder

By definition, first-degree murder is said to be committed when someone kills another human being with the intention of actually killing him. It has been briefed in section 229 (a) properly. In this section, there are two cases (i) and (ii). Section 229 (a) (i) says that the first-degree murder that has been caused occurs by the specific, intentional action of a person to cause murder. For example, if you do a deal of planning to murder someone and then commit the killings following the plan; this section will govern your case.

Compared to the above scenario, section 229 (a) (ii) states that a person utilizes something to cause bodily harm to another person by something that can cause death, and death takes place.

Section 231 of the Canadian Criminal Code gives more specific cases for first-degree murder:

  1. Planned and Deliberate: This is the type of first-degree crime where crime is committed in an organized fashion. There is a complete intention of committing suicide, and the person doesn’t have any confusion whatsoever.
  2. Killing police officers or correctional officers: This is a scenario where someone kills a person who is part of a law-enforcement department. It specifically includes the police officers and correctional officers who may be executed in their lines of duty.
  3. Killing during sexual harassment, kidnapping, hijacking, or criminal harassment: These are the situations where someone gets dominated by another human being and died as a result of the illegal activity.
  4. Killing someone in the act of terrorism:

If someone kills another human being as part of a terrorist event, or at the direction of some terrorist/ criminal organization, it’s considered a first-degree murder by the Canadian Criminal Code.

Punishment for First Degree Murder in the Canadian Criminal Code

The sentence for first-degree murder in the Canadian criminal code is life imprisonment. It makes one ineligible for parole for 25 years.

Difference between First-degree murder, Second-degree murder, and Manslaughter

The concept of “Malice Aforethought” is used for differentiation. This term basically tells you if there was an intention of killing present or not. In first degree murder, there is intention involved. In the second degree, death occurs unintentionally i.e., by some incident that is deemed as reckless.

Compared to first- and second-degree murders, Manslaughter is killing that takes place without malice aforethought.



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