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Civil and Administrative
Litigation Opinions
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Criminal - Defence - 'Third Party Protection'

. R. v. Suthakaran

In R. v. Suthakaran (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal considered a 'third party protection defence' (ie. acts done to protect a third party) from a murder charge:
[19] The defence of a third party is codified by s. 34 of the Criminal Code, which provides that a person is not guilty of an offence if (a) they believe on reasonable grounds that force is being used against ... another person or that a threat of force is being made against … another person; (b) the act that constitutes the offence is committed for the purpose of defending or protecting… the other person from that use or threat of force; and (c) the act committed is reasonable in the circumstances. Section 34(2) provides that, in determining whether an act is reasonable, the court shall consider the relevant circumstances of the person, the other parties, and the act, and sets out a number of non-exhaustive factors.

[20] There are three essential elements to the defence of a third party: (1) the accused must have reasonably apprehended a threat of harm to the third party (the catalyst); (2) the force used by the accused was in response to the perceived threat or harm (the motive); and (3) the force used was reasonable in the circumstances (the response): R. v. Khill, 2021 SCC 37, 462 D.L.R. (4th) 389 at paras. 51-52, 59, 62.


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