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Top Five 2011: R v JA

Each year at OJEN’s Toronto Summer Law Institute, a judge from the Court of Appeal for Ontario identifies five cases that are of significance in the educational setting. This summary, based on these comments and observations, is appropriate for discussion and debate in the classroom setting.

R v JA, 2011 SCC 28, [2011] 2 SCR 440

Can someone legally consent to sexual activity prior to the sexual activity in question? In this case, the Supreme Court of Canada was asked to determine whether a man sexually assaulted his partner after she consented to the initial rough sexual activity, but was unconscious for the sexual activity which she claimed was not consensual.  The Supreme Court held that “an individual must be conscious throughout the sexual activity in order to provide the requisite consent. Parliament requires ongoing, conscious consent to ensure that women and men are not the victims of sexual exploitation, and to ensure that individuals engaging in sexual activity are capable of asking their partners to stop at any point” [para. 3]. The full decision is available here.


Date Produced: 2011

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