What Is The Difference Between Absolute Liability, Strict Liability And Full Mens Rea?
Absolute Liability Offences only require the prosecution to prove that an unlawful act or omission occurred. The prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant had any form of intent. The accused is not entitled to rely on a defence, such as due diligence, necessity, or accident. Absolute liability offences can carry heavy fines, but no jail time.
An example of an absolute liability offence is failing to stop at a stop sign under the Highway Traffic Act.
Strict Liability Offences also only require the prosecution to prove that an unlawful act or omission occurred, and they are not required to prove intention. However, the accused is entitled to prove due diligence as a defence to the charge. You can face both fines and jail time if convicted of a strict liability offence.
An example of a strict liability offence is careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act.
A Mens Rea Offence is like a criminal offence, in that the prosecution is required to prove both the physical act and the mental element (intent).
An example of a mens rea quasi-criminal offence is making a false statement on one's tax return under the Income Tax Act.