Supreme Court


Sexual Offences

Bestiality
Bestiality has well-established legal meaning

Accused put peanut butter on minor complainant’s genitals and took photos while dog licked it off. Accused was convicted of bestiality. Court of Appeal concluded penetration is essential element of bestiality and overturned conviction. Crown appealed to Supreme Court of Canada. Appeal dismissed. Bestiality has well-established legal meaning and refers to sexual intercourse between human and animal. Penetration has always been understood to be essential element of bestiality. Parliament adopted term without adding definition of it. Legislative history and evolution of relevant provisions showed no intent to depart from well-understood legal meaning of term. Courts should not, by development of common law, broaden scope of liability for offence as trial judge did. Any expansion of criminal liability for bestiality was within Parliament’s domain.

R. v. W. (D.L.) (Jun. 9, 2016, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., Abella J., Cromwell J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Côté J., and Brown J., 36450) Decision at 122 W.C.B. (2d) 508 was affirmed. 129 W.C.B. (2d) 514.

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