The Kienapple principle, also known as the rule against multiple convictions, is a rule in law that is named after the case where it was created.

This law states that a person cannot be convicted of two offences that are as a result of the same act. In Canadian law, a person is considered convicted only after sentencing. This means that a person can still be found guilty of two offences arising from the same act, but s/he will only be sentenced on one if the Kienapple principle is used.

Where the Kienapple principle is used, a charge that does not result in sentencing is “stayed” . Staying a charge means that the court orders that the charge cannot be prosecuted.

A common example of the Kienapple principle is seen in drunk driving cases. The law does not allow a person to be convicted of impaired driving and over 80 if the two convictions were as a result of the same act. If a person is found guilty of these two charges at trial, the judge will stay one of the charges and sentence on the other.

Another commonly seen example of the application of this principle is in cases where someone is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference. One of the charges will be stayed in favour of the other. Judges in Canada are not permitted to sentence individuals all of two or more crimes that fall under this principle.

It goes without saying that being convicted of multiple crimes is more damaging for a person’s record that only being convicted of one. This principle is helpful to someone looking to keep his/her record as small as possible.

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