Saskatchewan’s Court of Queen’s Bench has ruled on the constitutionality of s. 150.1 of the Canadian Criminal Code. Section 150.1 applies to a variety of sexual crimes, and removes the defense of consent if the complainant is between 14-16 years of age and the accused is more than 5 years older.
While the accused challenged the law on several grounds and asked for various remedies, the court stated that the foundation for the submission related to overbreadth of the law. Specifically, the accused stated that the purpose of the law was to protect youth from sexual exploitation rather than consensual sexual acts. The court seemed to accept that the relationship was pursued and initiated by the complainant. From these facts, the accused pointed out that if Parliament’s intention was to prevent sexual exploitation, he was caught in a net meant to entangle only predators.
Justice Barrington-Foote pointed to an Ontario Court of Appeal decision that had ruled the purpose of the section was to prevent children from sexual contact with adults, whether exploitive or not. The “close in age” provision was held as evidence of Parliament’s intention to protect children from adult sexual advances. Justice Barrington-Foote agreed with the Ontario decision and stated that preventing exploitation was not the objective of s. 150.1, but rather an effect.
The Court also found that the impact on the accused was not grossly disproportionate.
The redacted version of the decision can be found on CanLII: R v T.A.S., 2017 SKQB 339. CanLII Case
This blog post was written by a CCLA-PBSC RightsWatch student. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCLA or PBSC.