R v Seaboyer

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R v Seaboyer
Supreme Court of Canada
Hearing: March 26, 27, 1991
Judgment: August 22, 1991
Citations [1991] 2 S.C.R. 577
Docket No. 20666
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 McLachlin J., joined by Lamer C.J. and La Forest, Sopinka, Cory, Stevenson and Iacobucci JJ.
Concur/dissent L'Heureux‑Dubé J., joined by Gonthier J.

R v Seaboyer, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 577 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision where the Court struck-down a rape-shield provision of the Criminal Code as it violated the right to "full answer and defence" under sections 7 and 11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The case was decided with R v Gayme.

Justice McLachlin, for the majority, found that the Code provision, which prevented those charged with sexual assault offences from cross-examining the complainant about his or her history of sexual activity, could, in some instances, exclude relevant evidence thus impeding the accused's ability to make full answer and defence.

Justice L'Heureux-Dubé, in dissent, found that the Code provision just excluded evidence that would be irrelevant and prejudicial to the integrity and fairness of the trial process.

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