La mens rea décrite par l’expression « intention d’échapper à toute responsabilité civile ou criminelle » au par. 252(1) du C.cr.
Selon la preuve invoquée par M. Seipp, il a fui les lieux afin d’éviter d’être tenu criminellement responsable de possession d’un véhicule volé. Il ne s’agit pas d’une preuve contraire. Cet élément prouve plutôt que M. Seipp voulait échapper à toute responsabilité civile ou criminelle découlant de la garde, de la charge ou du contrôle d’un véhicule impliqué dans l’accident. Une telle intention correspond à la mens rea décrite par l’expression « intention d’échapper à toute responsabilité civile ou criminelle » au par. 252(1). En conséquence, M. Seipp n’a subi aucun préjudice du fait qu’au procès son avocat a admis que les éléments de l’infraction avaient été établis. Pour ces motifs, l’appel est rejeté.
Being involved in an accident and fleeing to evade liability for driving a stolen motor vehicle, like driving while one’s licence is suspended, or driving while impaired, is conduct and intent that is intended to be included in this legislation
 Section 252(2) requires a driver who is involved in an accident to: (i) stop, (ii) give their name and address, and (iii) offer assistance if a person appears injured or in need of assistance. A driver is required to complete all three steps. Proof of failure to perform any one of these three acts will trigger a rebuttable presumption with respect to the driver’s intent. See R. v. Roche, 1983 CanLII 130 (SCC),  1 S.C.R. 491 at paras. 496-97. The evidence need only raise a reasonable doubt that the driver did not have the requisite intent. See R. v. Proudlock, 1978 CanLII 15 (SCC),  1 S.C.R. 525 at 551.
 Therefore, failure to perform any of the three requirements is sufficient to form the actus reus of the offence and trigger the presumption of intent to escape criminal or civil liability. The mens rea may be proved by the presumption of intent in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
 There are two approaches in the jurisprudence for what is meant by “intent to escape civil or criminal liability” and what amounts to “evidence to the contrary”. One approach limits the intent required to the intent to avoid the legal consequences of the accident itself; the other includes the course of conduct leading up to the accident. Neither approach includes the evasion of criminal conduct at large as meeting the intent requirement.
 In Fournier c. R, (1979), 8 C.R. (3d) 248 (Q.C.C.A), the court considered the intent requirement in s. 233 [now s. 252], and said, at 254 (translated):
I would add, that in my opinion, the civil or criminal responsibility that one must intend to escape by leaving the scene of an accident must be related to the accident, and not refer to all civil or criminal responsibility previously or otherwise incurred, e.g. risk of arrest: for armed robbery.
 The case did not involve an armed robbery. By using this offence as an example, the court appears to exclude the intent to avoid liability for an act quite separate from the accident. The court found that the intent must be to escape responsibility related to the accident.
 In R. v. Hofer, (1982), 1982 CanLII 2378 (SK CA), 2 C.C.C. (3d) 236 (Sask.C.A.), the court specifically considered the mens rea for the offence. The issue was whether the intent to escape civil or criminal liability only included liability arising from the “accident itself”. The court generally agreed with the above passage in Fournier. It added that an accused can have more than one intent — for example, the intent to avoid liability unconnected to the accident as well as the intent required for the offence (at 239). Furthermore, the court found that the intent was not limited solely to the “accident itself”, but could include, for example, avoiding a charge of impaired driving, which “does not technically arise out of the accident itself but arises out of the course of conduct leading up to the accident” (at 240).
 In R. v. Benson, (1987), 50 M.V.R. 131 (Ont. Dist. Ct.), Borins D.C.J. (as he then was), considered whether the presumption of intent was rebutted when the driver fled from the accident scene because his license was suspended due to unpaid fines and a bail condition and he did not want to be caught driving under suspension. Borins D.C.J. did not agree that this explanation amounted to evidence to the contrary. In his view, at 135, “civil or criminal liability should be broadly interpreted to include any liability, civil or criminal, which might properly arise from the operation of a motor vehicle by the defendant at the time that an accident takes place”. Borins D.C.J. clarified one of his findings from an earlier decision in R. v. Riopka (1986),  45 M.V.R. 145 at 149-150, wherein he found that leaving an accident scene to avoid being caught for theft of property from an employer was evidence to the contrary. He clarified in Benson at 136 that the intention to avoid liability for a number of driving offences, including criminal negligence, failing to provide a breath sample, or driving while one’s licence was suspended did not amount to evidence to the contrary.
 In R. v. MacLean (1982),  18 M.V.R. 275 (P.E.I. Sup. Ct.), McQuaid J., at 277 defined the liability more narrowly. He concluded that the liability must be incidental to and arising out of the accident in question. In his view, leaving a scene because one’s driver’s licence was suspended did not give rise to the accident nor was consequent upon it (at 277-278).
 More recently, Hill J. considered the intent requirement in R. v. Sanford, 2014 ONSC 3164 (CanLII). Mr. Sanford struck a cyclist at night. He stopped at the scene, but left, he said, to obtain water and blankets for the injured cyclist. A number of others had stopped to assist, and police, firefighters, and paramedics were on route. The trial judge rejected Mr. Sandford’s explanation that he had left to obtain aid for the victim. Instead, he concluded that he left the scene to avoid detection as a suspended driver. Hill J. at para. 73 noted the correlation between accidents and suspended drivers as well recognized, citing R. v. Ladouceur, 1990 CanLII 108 (SCC),  1 S.C.R. 1257 at 1280-81, where the majority upheld random police road stops. He adopted the reasoning of Borins J., and concluded that a person who left an accident scene because his licence was suspended was attempting to avoid liability as a suspended driver, which fell within the ambit of the section.
 Section 252(2), as counsel for the appellant submits, does not establish a positive obligation on the part of the driver to fulfill the three behaviours of stopping, providing a name and address and rendering assistance. Those obligations are the subject of a provision in the Motor Vehicle Act, noncompliance with which is an offence under the Offence Act. Rather, s. 252 prohibits a failure to fulfill these three actions with the intent of avoiding civil or criminal liability, and I say parenthetically, in connection with the accident.
 If the provision is capable of more than one meaning, then the strict construction of penal statutes must be invoked. In Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership v. Rex, 2002 SCC 42 (CanLII) at paras. 28-30, the application of the principle was stated as follows:
 Other principles of interpretation — such as the strict construction of penal statutes and the “Charter values” presumption — only receive application where there is ambiguity as to the meaning of a provision. (On strict construction, see: Marcotte v. Deputy Attorney General for Canada, 1974 CanLII 1 (SCC),  1 S.C.R. 108, at p. 115, per Dickson J. (as he then was); R. v. Goulis, (1981), 1981 CanLII 1642 (ON CA), 33 O.R. (2d) 55 (C.A.), at pp. 59-60; R. v. Hasselwander, 1993 CanLII 90 (SCC),  2 S.C.R. 398, at p. 413; R. v. Russell,  2 S.C.R. 804, 2001 SCC 53(CanLII), at para. 46. I shall discuss the “Charter values” principle later in these reasons.)
 What, then, in law is an ambiguity? To answer, an ambiguity must be “real” (Marcotte, supra, at p. 115). The words of the provision must be “reasonably capable of more than one meaning” (Westminster Bank Ltd. v. Zang,  A.C. 182 (H.L.), at p. 222, per Lord Reid). By necessity, however, one must consider the “entire context” of a provision before one can determine if it is reasonably capable of multiple interpretations. In this regard, Major J.’s statement in CanadianOxy Chemicals Ltd. v. Canada (Attorney General), 1999 CanLII 680 (SCC),  1 S.C.R. 743, at para. 14, is apposite: “It is only when genuine ambiguity arises between two or more plausible readings, each equally in accordance with the intentions of the statute, that the courts need to resort to external interpretive aids” (emphasis added), to which I would add, “including other principles of interpretation”.
 For this reason, ambiguity cannot reside in the mere fact that several courts — or, for that matter, several doctrinal writers — have come to differing conclusions on the interpretation of a given provision. Just as it would be improper for one to engage in a preliminary tallying of the number of decisions supporting competing interpretations and then apply that which receives the “higher score”, it is not appropriate to take as one’s starting point the premise that differing interpretations reveal an ambiguity. It is necessary, in every case, for the court charged with interpreting a provision to undertake the contextual and purposive approach set out by Driedger, and thereafter to determine if “the words are ambiguous enough to induce two people to spend good money in backing two opposing views as to their meaning” (Willis, supra, at pp. 4-5). [Emphasis added in Bell ExpressVu.]
 In my view, there is no true ambiguity when one considers the context and object of the legislation. The Code holds people responsible for intentionally committing prohibited acts or omissions, or for acting in a way that is objectively worthy of criminal censure. The case law generally finds that acts that are connected or related to the driving will be caught by the provision. In my view, there is no need to invoke the strict construction of penal statutes principle. The fact that the section has been interpreted in different ways by different judges does not mean there is a true ambiguity.
 It is clear from the debate on Bill C-82 (noted above), when the legislation was amended in 1999, that the legislature intended to capture impaired driving in this provision, conduct which may not necessarily be connected to or be causally related to the accident. The 1999 amendments support the broader interpretation given to the legislation in, for example, the decisions in Hofer and Benson. In my view, the course of conduct leading up to the accident must be included in order to capture impaired driving, which is clearly one of the purposes of the legislation.
 The object of the Code offence is to provide a penal incentive for a driver who is involved in an accident, regardless of whether they are at fault, to remain at the scene, provide their name and address, and offer assistance if another person appears to be injured or in need of assistance. The liability a driver seeks to evade is not narrowly construed as solely arising from the consequences of the accident itself, but must also encompass offences connected to the driving, such as impaired driving, driving while suspended, criminal negligence, and dangerous driving.
 The legislation was clearly intended to provide penal consequences for those who avoid an investigation for impaired driving by fleeing the scene. It also intended to provide penal consequences to persons who remain at the scene but do not offer to assist injured persons, and to provide penal consequences for those who attempt to hide their identities by failing to leave a name and address. A driver who commits these acts to escape civil or criminal liability arising from their driving has the requisite mens rea. The liability contemplated in the section cannot be solely in relation to the cause of the accident, as the driver may not be at fault, but the driver is still required to comply with the legislation. I would adopt the test, as stated by Borins J. in Benson at 136 that “civil or criminal liability should be broadly interpreted to include any liability, civil or criminal, which might properly arise from the operation of the motor vehicle by the defendant at the time the accident takes place” (emphasis added).
 As noted, the actus reus of the offence can be committed in three ways. The broader mens rea easily applies to the first two: both failing to stop a vehicle and failing to provide a name and address provide penal consequences to those who hide their identity as the driver to escape, for example, investigation for offences relating to driving, including impaired driving. The mens rea does not as easily fit with a failure to offer assistance with the intent to escape civil or criminal liability. However, there are potentially hypothetical situations (although no cases that I have found), where a driver could desire the death of the only witness to the accident, and thereby not offer assistance and have the requisite intent for not doing so. It is an awkward test, and as defence counsel pointed out, it would benefit from an amendment. However, Mr. Seipp is charged with the actus reus of failing to give his name and address, and while the test I propose must work with all three acts underlying the offence, it does not need to be honed to perfection with the act of failing to offer assistance, as that does not arise on these facts.
 Mr. Seipp did not want to be identified as the driver of the car, as he was knowingly in possession of a stolen automobile, and was driving it at the time he was involved in the accident. His flight from the scene was to avoid criminal liability in connection with a vehicle he was driving at the time of the accident.
 It seems to me that, applying the Benson test, being involved in an accident and fleeing to evade liability for driving a stolen motor vehicle, like driving while one’s licence is suspended, or driving while impaired, is conduct and intent that is intended to be included in this legislation. Being the driver of a stolen car when involved in an accident, and fleeing to avoid detection as the driver, is, in my view, sufficiently related to the event to be captured by the intent of the legislation. Fleeing to avoid arrest as the driver of a stolen vehicle after an accident is therefore not evidence to the contrary, but falls within the criminal liability contemplated by the section.
 Thus, the explanation offered by Mr. Seipp, even if accepted by the trial judge, would not have rebutted the presumption of intent. His counsel therefore did not commit an error in admitting that the elements of the s. 252 offence were proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and the trial judge committed no error in convicting him.
 Finally, Mr. Seipp submits that counsel failed to obtain his instructions before admitting the elements of the offence. In these circumstances, conceding an offence has been proved after hearing the evidence is within the ambit of counsel; it is a legal decision. It is not on the same footing as entering a guilty plea to an offence, which would require instructions. I would not give effect to this argument.