Monday, November 5, 2012

Entrapment to be found only in the clearest of cases

R. v. N.Y., 2012 ONCA 745, released today, makes clear that entrapment is to be found only rarely:

[131] Entrapment evokes society's view "that there are inherent limits on the power of the state to manipulate people and events for the purpose of attaining the specific objective of obtaining convictions": Mack, at p. 941. However, it is also clear that a finding of entrapment is not to be made lightly, and only in the clearest of cases. Lamer J. also observed in Mack, at pp. 975-76, that:

More fundamentally, the claim of entrapment is a very serious allegation against the state. The state must be given substantial room to develop techniques which assist it in its fight against crime in society. It is only when the police and their agents engage in a conduct which offends basic values of the community that the doctrine of entrapment can apply.


Stephen Downes said...

I have no idea what precedent says on this, but it seems to me that intent would be important.

Specifically, there is a difference between allowing and even enabling a person who intends to commit a criminal act, and enticing and encouraging a person who had no such intention.

For me, this would put the burden on the Crown to show that it is not 'the clearest of cases' - that is, it suggests that the burden should be on the Crown to demonstrate that the intent to act criminally existed, and was the primary (if not sole) motivator.

James C Morton said...


I agree -- but that ain't the law...

Stephen Downes said...