Supreme Court Of Canada’s Bestiality Ruling Stirs Controversy

Published On June 16, 2016 | By Rocco Agwu | Law

The legal landscape is a constantly fluid environment. Laws and rulings that were enacted 20 years ago probably look noticeably different today. And if your job is in this field, whether as a lawyer or a research assistant or a journalist, it’s obviously important to stay on top of every little change that happens so you can always be as prepared as possible. That’s what makes LexisNexis’ legal management software the ideal tool for the legal professional, giving you immediate access to a vast database of court cases, rulings, legislation, archived news and many other documents that allow you to have the information you need.

Take the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent ruling on what constitutes bestiality. Yes, you read that right. I know, I know, bestiality is super disgusting, but enough sick people engage in this practice that there needs to be laws around it. And you should know what those laws are because you never know when you might need to access that knowledge. Unfortunately the Supreme Court’s decision – that bestiality consists only of penetration and that any other sexual activity between a human and animal is technically legal – means that there really needs to be some overhaul on these laws.

The whole debate sprung from a vile case out of British Columbia where a man was convicted of not only molesting his two stepdaughters over the course of ten years but also with forcing one of his stepdaughters into having sexual relations with the family dog, namely by putting peanut butter on her crotch so that the canine could lick it off. Excuse me while I vomit.

And yet, while this man is certainly going to prison for his crimes, his lawyers appealed the bestiality charge alone, stating that there was no actual penetration. Shockingly, the B.C. Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court, in a 6-1 decision, agreed and that charge was overturned. Their statement: “The term ‘bestiality’ has a well-established legal meaning and refers to sexual intercourse between a human and an animal. Penetration has always been understood to be an essential element of bestiality.”

They also stated that it’s Parliament’s job to revise the bestiality laws, but until then they have to abide by the traditional definitions, which has seemingly stayed the same since its inclusion as a separate crime under the Criminal Code in 1955. But the one dissenting judge from the Supreme Court decision, Justice Rosalie Abella, isn’t buying this rhetoric. Her written statement read, “Parliament must have intended protection for children from witnessing or being forced to participate in any sexual activity with animals. Since penetration is physically impossible with most animals and for half the population, requiring it as an element of the offence eliminates from censure most sexually exploitative conduct with animals.”

The uproar over this ruling is loud and hopefully leads to concrete change, both for the protection of animals and victims forced to witness or participate in these activities.

As this story progresses and changes, a helpful legal tool could be vital to staying on top of it. The world can be a dirty place, but you need to stay involved.

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