Legal Subversion of the Criminal Justice Process? Judicial, Prosecutorial and Police Discretion in Edmondson, Kindrat and Brown

In Elizabeth Sheehy (ed.), SEXUAL ASSAULT IN CANADA: LAW, LEGAL PRACTICE & WOMEN'S ACTIVISM,. Ottawa, ON, Canada: Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press. pp. 111-150 (2012)
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In 2001, three non-Aboriginal men in their twenties were charged with the sexual assault of a twelve year old Aboriginal girl in rural Saskatchewan. Legal proceedings lasted almost seven years and included two preliminary hearings, two jury trials, two retrials with juries, and appeals to the provincial appeal court and the Supreme Court of Canada. One accused was convicted. The case raises questions about the administration of justice in sexual assault cases in Saskatchewan. Based on observation and analysis of the record, this paper: (1) examines relationships between legal errors dealing with availability of the defence of “belief in consent” and interpretation of the “all reasonable steps” provision, the need for retrials, and apprehended race-gender-age bias and discrimination; and 2) proposes incremental and systemic remedies to address the weaknesses in police, prosecutorial and judicial policy and practice highlighted by this case.
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