Court of Appeal of Quebec

Vézina c. R.

May 08, 2018

200-10-003301-160

Dutil, Bich, Ruel

Appeal from a judgment of the Court of Quebec that found the appellant guilty of having recklessly discharged a firearm and having stored a firearm contrary to the applicable regulation. Dismissed.

Disorganized and inebriated after an evening during which he had quarreled with his spouse, the appellant fired a 12-gauge rifle inside his home, located in a residential neighbourhood, knowing that there were occupants present or being reckless as to their presence. The trial judge rejected the appellant’s argument that shots fired inside a home are not covered under s. 244.2(1)(a) of the Criminal Code (R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46) (Cr. C.). 

The provision states that every person commits an offence “who intentionally discharges a firearm into or at a place, knowing that or being reckless as to whether another person is present in the place”. The material element of the offence is the act of discharging a firearm into or at a place. Under s. 244.2 (2) Cr. C., “place” means “any building or structure – or part of one”. Therefore, it is not the shooter’s geographic position that counts, but the destination of the shot, which must be into or at a place that includes a building or part of one. Part of a building can be the exterior or interior part. It can also be a more specific subdivision of the building, such as a floor or a unit in a condominium. With respect to the mental element of the offence, the firearm must have been discharged intentionally, not accidentally. The Crown must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knew when he intentionally discharged the firearm into or at the place in question that there was another person present or was reckless as to whether another person was present in that place. Section 244.2(1)(a) Cr. C. therefore applies if the accused fired the gun inside the home, as in this case.

*Summary by SOQUIJ
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