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Steve Weatherbe

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Judge was wrong to ax statutory rape ban over ‘age discrimination’: Ontario’s top court

Steve Weatherbe

TORONTO, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A law criminalizing sex with minors has been upheld on appeal by the federal government, but one defender of the traditional family expressed dismay that a lower court judge initially ruled the law unconstitutional.

“The appeal court decision is reasonable in that it protects minors under 16 from sexual exploitation by adults five years or more older,” Gwen Landolt, a lawyer and national vice president of REAL Women of Canada, told LifeSiteNews. “But it speaks to the madness of today’s judges that they would throw out this protection as a kind of discrimination.”

The case involved a 15-year-old girl who allegedly pressed a 21-year-old male friend for sex. After a year, he claims, he gave in to her. The resulting pregnancy and abortion let the cat out of the bag and he was charged with violating the Criminal Code Section 150.1, which prohibits anyone having sex with a minor who is five years or more younger, whether or not the minor consented: what used to be called statutory rape.

But in 2011 Judge Lisa Cameron bought the defence’s argument that the law was a form of age discrimination against the accused man, and instead of throwing the book at him, she threw out the law as a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  She found the girl “loving and respectful,” and mature for her age, and therefore did not need the protection the law provided against exploitation by a much older person.

The prosecution appealed and the Superior Court found Cameron had erred and sent it back for her to reconsider. This time she accepted his conviction and gave the man a conditional discharge; this time he appealed.

But this month the Ontario Court of Appeal supported his conviction and found the law itself to be constitutional. It found the age discrimination built into the law was a reasonable protection against exploitation, and therefore defensible under the Charter. The girl, moreover, was living alone, estranged from her only parent and had otherwise demonstrated her lack of maturity and need of protection by her decision to go off birth control and to have an abortion.

“Although the appellant may not have intended to exploit the complainant, she clearly suffered emotional and psychological harm from engaging in a sexual relationship with him,” the court found.

Landolt applauded the appeal court but told LifeSiteNews Cameron’s decision was a good example of the ill effects of “judicial activism.” “Cameron’s ruling was a crazy decision based on the liberal agenda. She can’t say this young girl didn’t really need protection.”

Landolt said the young girls were often pressured into having sex by older men who then pressure the girls to have abortions to cover up their activities. “When you put the law into the hands of judges like this,” she said,  “we all become vulnerable to personal views of people who feel free to indulge their liberal biases and bend the law.”

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