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A Degraded Justice: Ontario’s Bill 117 A License to Perjury Submission to the Standing Committee on Justice and Social Policy

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to the police. The alleged female perpetrator fled the premises before police arrived. Police found the young man with blood flowing from a cut under his right eye, and he was also bleeding from a human bite to his upper left arm. Both injuries left scars visible more than one month following the alleged assault. Forensic photos were taken that night, and the young man was advised to see a doctor the following day, who also recorded his injuries. The alleged female perpetrator was found at her mother’s home the following day, and was placed under arrest. Although she had no apparent injuries, she claimed that she was also abused. The police subsequently returned to the young man’s home and placed him in handcuffs to make an arrest. He was further advised to vacate the apartment, which was rented independently and in his name. Though a no contact order is in place between them, the female has called and left four lengthy messages on voice mail, and has threatened that she will also be accusing him of criminal child abuse regarding their 2 year old son. Though we have instructed him to hang up and use tracing methods to document the calls, no harassment charges have been laid against the female accused.

The court presumes that women are incapable of violence, and if they do hit, it is only to protect themselves. It does not take into account that some females are raised with the example of violent homes, and they also sometimes suffer from long-standing psychological problems, which make some women more prone to violence. In addition, we presume that “men can take it” or prefer to believe that it is not possible for a woman to hurt a man. We fail to remember that size does not always matter when a violent personality is involved, and the largest person is not necessarily the most violent. It is a certainty that men can not automatically obtain protection orders or ex parte orders when they claim to be the victims of violence.

Two leading decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada are also relevant to this discussion, particularly when we discuss the absence of substantiating evidence for domestic violence charges. The leading case on battered women syndrome as a defense for women who kill is that of R v. Lavallee4, where a woman shot her boyfriend after an alleged assault. In this case, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on whether an expert's opinion on whether the accused was credible regarding her claim that she was an abuse victim with reasonable belief she was in imminent danger, and whether such expert evidence could be submitted to the jury. The Crown in this Winnipeg case was arguing that this expert evidence should not have been allowed. The court was very clear when it ruled that there was ample evidence to support the accused's claim that she was a frequent victim of serious violence. There were witnesses who testified to the assaults, including the night she shot her boyfriend. As well, there were several medical reports and police records with respect to her many previous assaults. The Court found there was abundant corroborating evidence to substantiate that the accused women was indeed a chronic abuse victim at the hands of the deceased.

This is in contrast to the Supreme Court’s more recent decision on the battered women syndrome defense, entitled R v. Mallot5. In this case, a woman claimed the battered woman’s defense after killing her ex-boyfriend, whom she no longer lived with. She then went to the apartment he shared with a new girlfriend and attempted to kill the girlfriend. Though there was one report to the police regarding alleged abuse by the deceased boyfriend

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R v. Lavallee [1990] 1 SCR, pp 852. R v. Mallot [1998] 1 SCR pp. 123

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