A "reasonable excuse" can be a full defence for offences that are require the absence of a reasonable excuse.
Offences that are subject to a reasonable excuse defence include:
- Refusal to Provide Breath Sample (254)
- Neglect by peace officer (69)
- Obstruction of a Peace Officer (Offence) (129)
- Flight from a Peace Officer (Offence) (249.1)
- Animal Cruelty (Offence) (445.1)
- Failure to Abide by a SOIRA Order (490.031)
- Breach of Probation (733.1)
- Breach of an LTO Order (753.3)
Under the heading of "Defects and Objections", s. 794 states:
No need to negative exception, etc.
794. (1) No exception, exemption, proviso, excuse or qualification prescribed by law is required to be set out or negatived, as the case may be, in an information.
Burden of proving exception, etc.
(2) The burden of proving that an exception, exemption, proviso, excuse or qualification prescribed by law operates in favour of the defendant is on the defendant, and the prosecutor is not required, except by way of rebuttal, to prove that the exception, exemption, proviso, excuse or qualification does not operate in favour of the defendant, whether or not it is set out in the information.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 730.
By function of s. 794, the persuasive burden rests on the defence to establish any reasonable excuse and is not on the Crown.
- for example many offences include the phrase "without reasonable excuse"
- R v Goleski, 2014 BCCA 80 (CanLII)