Federal law on intoxication sex assault defence unconstitutional: Ontario judge

Federal law on intoxication sex assault defence unconstitutional: Ontario judge

TORONTO — People accused of sexual assault in Ontario are once again allowed to use excessive intoxication as a defence against criminal charges, a judge has ruled, finding that a federal law preventing such an argument is unconstitutional.

Superior Court Justice Nancy Spies' ruling relates to a Supreme Court decision established in the early '90s that drew so much ire that Ottawa introduced a law to limit its perceived impact.

That law — s. 33.1 of the Criminal Code — has had several detractors over the years but proponents said it was essential to protect women and children from violence perpetrated by those under the influence.

Spies downplayed that argument in her Aug. 2 decision, contending that the law limited a viable possible line of defence without offering meaningful protection for women.

“Section 33.1's objective ... is not sufficiently pressing and substantial to justify the great damage it does to fair trial interests,” she wrote before affirming that it was “of no force and effect in Ontario.”

Read full article here - September 3rd, 2018 (AdvocateDaily.com)


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Criminal Defence

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