R v Jobidon

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R v Jobidon
Supreme Court of Canada
Hearing: March 28, 1991
Judgment: September 26, 1991
Full case name Jules Jobidon v Her Majesty The Queen
Citations [1991] 2 S.C.R. 714
Prior history Found guilty of manslaughter by the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Ruling Appeal was dismissed.
Holding
An accused cannot rely on a defence of consent for causing serious hurt or non-trivial bodily harm.
Court Membership
Chief Justice: Antonio Lamer
Puisne Justices: Gérard La Forest, Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, John Sopinka, Charles Gonthier, Peter Cory, Beverley McLachlin, William Stevenson, Frank Iacobucci
Reasons given
Majority Gonthier J., joined by La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Cory and Iacobucci JJ.
Concur/dissent Sopinka J., joined by Stevenson J.
Lamer C.J. took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

R v Jobidon, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 714 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision where the Court held that consent cannot be used as a defence for a criminal act such as assault which may cause "serious hurt or non-trivial bodily harm".

Background[edit]

In September 1986, Rodney Haggart was celebrating his engagement in a hotel bar near Sudbury, Ontario. Haggart had an exchange of angry words with Jules Jobidon, a young man at the bar with his brother. Haggart challenged him to a fight in the bar but it was soon broken up. They both agreed that the fight was not over.

Jobidon waited outside until Haggart left to continue the fight. His first punch was with such force that Haggart was knocked unconscious. Jobidon immediately continued to punch him in the head . Haggart was taken to a hospital and later died of severe contusions to the head. Jobidon was charged with manslaughter.

At trial the judge found that though Jobidon did not intend to kill him, the possibility of serious injury was foreseeable. Jobidon successfully argued that Haggart had consented to the fight, and so he was acquitted. In the initial trial in Sudbury, the Crown was represented by Greg Rodgers and Mr. Jobidon by Edward (Ted) Conroy. The Court of Appeal overturned the verdict and substituted a conviction for manslaughter.

The principal issue was whether absence of consent is a material element which must be proven by the Crown in all cases of assault or whether there are common law limitations which restrict or negate the legal effectiveness of consent in certain types of cases.

Reasons of the Court[edit]

Justice Gonthier, writing for the majority, argued that the criminal law has a "paternalistic" dimension which attempts to ensure that all "citizens treat each other humanely and with respect". Nevertheless, consent would be a valid defence where the harm was trivial or where it is part of a socially valuable activity such as sports.

Justice Sopinka, in concurring reasons that agreed with the result but not with the majority's reasoning, held that the majority was expanding the scope of the criminal provision beyond what was intended by Parliament. In the current situation, Sopinka found that the beating became so severe that it would be impossible for Haggart to consent to it.

See also[edit]

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