CURRENT COMPLICATIONS IN THE LAW ON MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES
Keywords:sexual assault, sexual assault trials, criminal law, evidence, Canada, myths, stereotypes, sex discrimination, gender discrimination, inferences, relevance, judicial reasoning
Myths and stereotypes represent an ongoing problem in Canadian sexual assault trials. Often, and paradigmatically, defence lawyers and trial judges rely on discredited sexist assumptions to the prejudice of female sexual assault complainants. However, a review of the recent appellate case law reveals many cases that do not fit this paradigm. Complications that have arisen include stereotypes about men or accused persons, legitimate defence arguments misidentified as stereotypes, close cases where reasonable people disagree about whether stereotypes have been invoked, and prejudicial forms of reasoning based other axes of discrimination. This paper surveys these developments and assesses an attempt by the Court of Appeal for Ontario to bring order to this area of law in the 2021 case of R v JC.
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