UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sexual offences in Canada Bhavnani, Narain G.


NEED FOR RESEARCH The sex offences deal very closely with personal human life. Their importance lies, not only in the protection they afford to the person of a victim, but also in the part they play in the maintenance and preservation of prevailing standards of morality and ethics. Recently, there have been many criticisms as to the extent to which the law enforces moral and ethical behaviour in citizens. The desirability of regulating the private morality of people, by rigour of the sword, has invited the constant attention of many legal scholars. The sex offences being connected with the personal lives of citizens, the application of a strict standard of conduct does, doubtless, invade on the private sphere of conduct , while the slack enforcement of such standard may result in the insecurity of individuals against invasions by those seeking to corrupt the moral fibre of citizens. There is, thus, a great need to determine if the present law encroaches, unjustifiably, upon the private lives of citizens, and also to determine if its undue extension be curtailed to an extent compatible with the morals of the populace. SCOPE OF THE STUDY The Police Crime Statistics complied by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics for the year 1966 show that of all the crimes known or reported to the Police, 652 crimes were for rape alone. While other sexual crimes during this period numbered 8,140, rape alone constituted about 13 percent of the total figure. This is a substantial number and a meaningful index that throws light on the seriousness of the situation. An examination of the court cases also indicates that the law reports are replete with cases dealing with sexual offences. The Code contains a number of sexual offences, but the gist of all of them is contained in sections 131 to 149 that cover all heinous offences like rape, buggery, gross indecency, and others. The bulk of law dealing with all aspects of sexual offences is vast, but the formulation of main offences and the inconsistencies underlying such formulations, have been examined here from a juristic point of view. METHODOLOGY A systematic examination of all the relevant sexual offences has been made along with a historical examination of their development from early times. Also, a comparative examination of the law of Canada and the law of England has been undertaken on all material points. A reading target of all the important cases dealing with the subject was made, and attained, during the session. Attention was directed towards considering: (a) the proper criterion by which the law should enact and enforce sexual offences; (b) the consistency of the law of sexual offences with some – essential and fundamental principles of criminal law, the nature and scope of juristic problems arising from enforcement of such offences, and whether the problems can be solved within the present framework of such offences? and (c) the manner in which present law needs to be reformed and reformulated in the light of the criterion adopted, and in the light of some unacceptable results that arise from its present form. CONCLUSION Having examined various theories suggesting different criteria for social control of sexual behaviour, the criterion of 'minimum standards’, consistent with the fundamental ethical assumptions of our society, has been adopted. An examination of the present law has been attempted, and various problems arising out of its language and meaning have been inquired into in some depth, and in the light of judicial decisions critically scrutinised. In the end, on the realization that the effective solution of such problems would require legislative action, a law reform on no less than 36 points has been suggested. These suggestions have been condensed and incorporated in a suggested draft of the sections 131 to 149 appended to this thesis.

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