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R. v. Sullivan: Extreme Intoxication as a Defence

R. v. Sullivan centres on the use of extreme intoxication as a defence in a criminal case. The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) unanimously concluded that section 33.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which states that self-induced intoxication is not a defence, is not constitutional. The release of their decision reverberated through many different spheres of society and launched a flurry of questions and concerns,

What does this mean for cases of assault and other violent crimes where alcohol or other drugs are a factor? Just how much does this change the landscape of the prosecution of serious criminal acts? How can survivors feel comfortable and empowered enough to come forward and seek justice given the court’s holding?

All of this and more will be explored in this webinar presentation and moderated discussion with Stephanie DiGiuseppeRuby Shiller Enenajor DiGiuseppe, Barristers and counsel for Daniel Sullivan, a party in the case and Pam Hrick, Executive Director and General Counsel at LEAF, who intervened in the proceedings.

Date and Time: Tuesday, August 30, 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Materials from the presenters:

  1. Big Story Podcast, “Should ‘self-induced extreme intoxication’ be a valid defence for murder or sexual assault?” (post-Brown, pre-Bill C-28):
  2. Globe and Mail Article, “What is true and what is false about the Supreme Court of Canada’s extreme intoxication ruling” (post-Brown, pre-Bill C-28):
  3. Roadmap to a National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Gender-Based Violence:
  4. R. v. Sullivan and R. v. Brown Cases in Brief:
  5. LEAF Due Justice For All – Alternative Avenues to Justice for Sexual Assault Survivors:
  6. LEAF Branches:

For information about this webinar please contact

For information about the Summer Law Institute, please visit:

Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario

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