Her Majesty the Queen v. J.J.
(British Columbia) (Criminal) (By Leave)
(Publication ban in case) (Sealing order)
Canadian charter (Criminal) - Constitutional law, Criminal law - Charter of Rights - Constitutional law - Criminal law - Admissibility and use of third party records in the possession of the accused for certain enumerated sexual offences - Interlocutory constitutional ruling - Whether the trial judge erred in concluding that the seven-day notice requirement in s. 278.93(4) of the Criminal Code infringes s. 7 of the Charter and does not constitute a reasonable limit pursuant to s. 1 - Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ss. 1 and 7 - Does the “records screening regime” in ss. 278.92 to 278.94 of the Criminal Code violate s. 7, 11(c), and/or 11(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms such that it should be declared of no force or effect? .
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(publication ban) (sealing order)
The respondent, J.J., was charged with sexual assault, contrary to s. 271 of the Criminal Code. His lawyer is in possession of communications between J.J. and the complainant. His lawyer wants to use those communications on cross-examination of the complainant; however, he says those communications meet the definition of a record in s. 278.1 of the Criminal Code and as a result he must apply to have the communications admitted as relevant to an issue at trial pursuant to ss. 278.92, 278.93 and 278.94. The application must be made on seven days’ notice to the Crown, unless the trial judge permits a shorter period. Duncan J. held that the seven-day notice requirement in s. 278.93(4) of the Criminal Code violated s. 7 of the Charter and could not be saved under s. 1. Duncan J. “read down” s. 278.93(4) of the Code to: (1) remove the seven day notice requirement in s. 278.93(4) only as it applies to s. 278.92 applications; and (2) provide that s. 278.92 applications should be made “at the conclusion of the complainant’s examination in chief, or as otherwise required by the judge, provincial court judge or justice in the interests of justice”. On October 5, 2020, J.J.’s trial on a single count of sexual assault commenced before a judge and jury in the B.C. Supreme Court. On October 9, 2020, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The Crown has not appealed the verdict.
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