R v Boucher

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R v Boucher
Supreme Court of Canada
Hearing:
Judgment: December 18, 1950
Full case name Aime Boucher v. His Majesty the King
Citations [1951] S.C.R. 265
Prior history Judgment for the Crown in the Quebec Court of King's Bench, Appeal Side.
Ruling Appeal allowed.
Holding
The criminal offence of seditious libel requires language that is calculated to promote public disorder or physical force or violence.
Court Membership
Chief Justice: Thibaudeau Rinfret
Puisne Justices: Patrick Kerwin, Robert Taschereau, Ivan Rand, Roy Kellock, James Wilfred Estey, Charles Holland Locke, John Robert Cartwright, Gerald Fauteux
Reasons given
Majority Kerwin J.
Concurrence Rand J.
Concurrence Kellock J.
Concurrence Estey J.
Concurrence Locke J.
Dissent Rinfret C.J.
Dissent Taschereau J.
Dissent Cartwright J., joined by Fauteux J.

R v Boucher[1] is a famous Supreme Court of Canada decision where the Court overturned a conviction for seditious libel on the grounds that criticizing the government was a valid form of protest.

Background[edit]

Aimé Boucher was a farmer in Beauce, Québec, and a practicing Jehovah's Witness. In 1946,[2] he was arrested while distributing pamphlets entitled "Québec's Burning Hate for God and Christ and Freedom Is the Shame of all Canada." The pamphlets criticized the Québec government suppression of the Witnesses and the courts for doing nothing to prevent it. Boucher was charged for seditious libel - for endeavouring to promote public disorder - under section 133(2) of the Criminal Code. At trial, the jury found Boucher guilty, which was upheld on appeal.

Opinion of the Court[edit]

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Court held that the mere publishing of critical statements, without any intention to incite violence against the government, could not be seditious libel.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ R v Boucher, [1951 SCR 265.
  2. ^ R v Boucher, p 305]

External links[edit]