Supreme Court to review provisions on evidence of sexual history in assault cases

Canada's Supreme Court will review an Ontario Superior Court decision striking down several Criminal Code provisions intended to protect victims of sexual assault. The appeal will be heard in May.

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will look at the constitutionality of provisions that govern evidence about an alleged assault victim's sexual history.

The decision comes in the case of Shane Reddick, who was charged with sexual assault and, in his defence, planned to cross-examine the complainant about her prior sexual activity.

Before his trial, Reddick challenged the constitutionality of Criminal Code provisions dealing with such evidence, arguing they violated his rights to fundamental justice and a fair trial.

In its decision last November, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said that when sexual-assault complainants testify they must not be put on trial and should be protected from questioning that propagates myths surrounding such victims.

However, the court declared several of the contested Criminal Code provisions to be unconstitutional, saying they impaired the accused's right to a fair trial.

The Supreme Court says the complainant's appeal of the Ontario court ruling will be heard in May along with another, previously scheduled case involving a related Criminal Code provision.

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