ontario news watch

Supreme Court addresses issue of consent in restoring sexual-assault convictions

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada has restored the convictions of a common-law couple for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl during a camping trip.

The girl was accompanied by her mother, stepfather and seven-year-old brother on the trip during the Canada Day weekend in 2013.

Some of her mother’s co-workers also attended, including the common-law spouses. 

At trial, the girl testified that she became intoxicated, fell asleep in the couple’s trailer, and woke up to one of them pulling down her pants and the pair engaging her in sexual activity.

The couple maintained she had consented to the activity, but the girl testified that she was so drunk she had no control of herself, faded in and out of consciousness and felt she could not have agreed to sex.

The Ontario Court of Appeal said the trial judge had made errors that necessitated setting aside the couple’s convictions and ordering a new trial.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2021. 

The Canadian Press