Lucki was driving on the wrong side of the road and collided with another vehicle. However, it was not the defendant's fault that he was on the wrong side of the road – the road conditions forced him to move over (black ice). It was an involuntary act. He is charged under The Vehicles Act. The required conduct for the offence is driving a vehicle, and the circumstance is failing to keep to the right and inconveniencing people on a public highway.
- Did Lucki commit the necessary actus reus?
- Did he possess the necessary mens rea?
Judgment for the defendant.
Goldenberg says that there are many sections under the Act that do not require mens rea, however this is not one of them. He says that the legislature did not intend for a person to be convicted under the section for such an instance. As he did not voluntarily commit the action – it was impossible for him not to do it – he cannot be to blame for the outcome. It does not matter if there is mens rea required, even if this is an offence of strict liability the defendant is still not because the conduct is involuntary.
- An action being involuntary is not the same thing as it being performed without mens rea.
- A person is not held liable for involuntary conduct.