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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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always telling the truth, and the rules of evidence are suspended. It also suspends all due process to accused parties, usually men, who frequently are labeled as violent, as sexual predators, and as drug or alcohol addicted, without any witness or other substantiating evidence outside of a woman’s words. The domestic violence lobby has a right to be heard but does not have the only right to be heard. Its influence has distorted the court, and brought justice into severe disrepute. No where is this most apparent than in the making of the Emergency Order, as contemplated by Section 3(2) of Bill 117.

The Emergency Order: A License for Perjury

The fear of domestic violence and how to prevent it has been a problem that has vexed modern societies for more than a decade. Extensive efforts have been made by government, police and other community organizations to reduce the dangers posed to female victims only. Men do not receive emergency orders when they claim to be assaulted by their female partners, or harassed in abrogation of no-contact orders. I am at a loss as to what to tell men who are constantly telephoned by female partners who repeatedly breach their own no- contact orders. When women breach these orders, nothing is done; in contrast to when men breach them.

Unfortunately, the establishment of allegations requiring no substantiating evidence has created a simultaneous slide in the protection of due process owed to the accused, who frequently suffer from a decreasing right to hear charges made against them in a timely fashion, and no right to defend themselves against the allegations.

While the idea that domestic violence exists is indisputable, the problem with changing our tenets of justice to meet the problem, results in a simple and easy process by which women are given the exclusive opportunity to make false allegations without penalty. This is especially true at the onset of divorce proceedings and through ongoing child access problems, when men are most vulnerable to these allegations.

It is not uncommon for serious criminal allegations of violent assault and child abuse to be made in the sworn statements of the emergency order, claims which have never been reported to police or child welfare authorities. No where in the proposed Bill 117 does it spell out any penalties for making a false statement. There is paragraph 16(1), which asserts that “No person shall…commit perjury, or public mischief within the meaning of the criminal code.” I would ask Committee members to request information from your Attorney General with respect to the frequency of perjury charges in the province of Ontario, especially arising out of family law matters. Judging by the absence of these charges, should we assume that everyone who provides evidence in family court is telling the truth? I would respectfully suggest that Ontario’s own Civil Justice Review found that the exact opposite was true, and penalties for perjury in family court hardly exist.

Emergency Orders as contemplated by Bill 117 would have no protection of due process available to the Respondent. While Paragraph 4 provides provision that an Order made under this Act “may be subject to such terms as the court considers appropriate, including a term that specifies the period of time for which the provision shall be in force (emphasis added), there is no requirement that a time limit be specified. This is in contrast to a similar

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