R v Sharpe

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R v Sharpe
Supreme Court of Canada
Hearing: January 18, 19 2000
Judgment: January 26, 2001
Full case name Her Majesty The Queen v John Robin Sharpe
Citations 2001 SCC 2, [2001] 1 SCR 45
Ruling Appeal allowed, charges remitted to trial.
Court Membership
Chief Justice: Beverley McLachlin
Puisne Justices: Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, Charles Gonthier, Frank Iacobucci, John C. Major, Michel Bastarache, Ian Binnie, Louise Arbour, Louis LeBel
Reasons given
Majority McLachin CJ (paras 1–130), joined by Iacobucci, Major, Binnie, Arbour and LeBel JJ
Concurrence L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier and Bastarache JJ (paras 131–243)

R v Sharpe, 2001 SCC 2 is a Canadian constitutional rights decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court upheld the child pornography provisions of the Criminal Code as a valid limitation of the right to freedom of expression under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In so doing, it reversed a ruling by the British Columbia Supreme Court. That opinion, issued by Justice Duncan Shaw, held that the law was what he called a "profound invasion" of rights of privacy and freedom of expression found in the Charter.[1] Prior to its reversal by the higher court, the ruling sparked extensive public complaints, and more than half of the Members of Parliament called for action by the Prime Minister of Canada to override the ruling.[1]

Question of law[edit]

Interpreting "person" in accordance with Parliament's purpose of criminalizing possession of material that poses a reasoned risk of harm to children, it seems that it should include visual works of the imagination as well as depictions of actual people. Notwithstanding the fact that 'person' in the charging section and in s. 163.1(1)(b) refers to a flesh-and-blood person, I conclude that "person" in s. 163.1(1)(a) includes both actual and imaginary human beings.

— Supreme Court of Canada, R v Sharpe, Paragraph 38[2]


  1. ^ a b Walters, Gregory J. (2002). Human Rights in an Information Age: A Philosophical Analysis. University of Toronto Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-8020-8550-4.
  2. ^ R. v. Sharpe Archived 2008-04-30 at the Wayback Machine. (26 January 2001). Retrieved February 20, 2006.

External links[edit]