Drunk bill rushed to close legal loopholes and correct ‘misleading’ information: Lametti – National | Media Pyro


The government’s “very crazy” bill was introduced in Parliament last spring and has since been scrutinized because it needed urgent action to fix “mishearings” and close a legal loophole in in the law, said the minister of justice David Lametti.

But some national women’s groups and legal groups say the bill is not adequately addressed and have raised concerns about the impact on women who may be victims of violence by drunken men.

Lametti was brought before the House of Commons justice committee on Monday to testify about Bill C-28, which would reform the Criminal Code to create a new standard for criminal liability. when a person commits a crime “in a state of negligence or in the capacity of doing evil. drunk.”

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It was brought in response to the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision five weeks earlier that the previous wording of Section 33.1, which disallowed “self-defense” as a defense, was unconstitutional.

The bill quickly moved through the House and Senate in June, a process that requires unanimous consent in both chambers.

But although concerns were registered at the time about the government’s haste to pass this bill, especially because some senators said it was “pretty” to pass a law before the first study in committee, the bill eventually passed within days. under the provision that the House and Senate will carefully study this event.

Lametti explained Monday that urgent action is needed to ensure that criminals who recklessly consume alcohol or drugs are held accountable for the harm they cause to others while intoxicated. them.

Drunkenness or drunkenness is not a defense, and “total drunkenness” — as in the case of a mechanic — is rare and difficult to prove, Lametti said.

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“Bill C-28 closed a narrow but important loophole in the law to ensure that the use of this barrier remains rare,” he told the committee on Monday.

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The court ruled that the previous wording of the Penal Code was unconstitutional because it removed the defense of actual intoxication in all cases – regardless of whether the person was acting negligently or wrongfully at the time consuming alcohol, Lametti explained.

But when the decision was handed down in May, there was confusion about the meaning of the procedure, which led to “false speculation” that mild intoxication could be used as a defense in cases of assault. than sex, says Lametti. Much of this is misunderstanding, Lametti said, but the “sometimes sensationalist reporting” has created confusion about Canadian law.

“There’s a lot of misinformation on social media, especially … that if you’re drunk, it’s a no-no-no card,” Lametti told the committee.

“There has been an explosion of misinformation. And we need to address it quickly.

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Meanwhile, groups representing vulnerable women say they are not happy with the “acceleration” of the bill, as it did not allow for serious consideration.

Representatives of the Canadian Women’s Association told the committee last week that when justice officials met with them before the bill was passed, it appeared that the government had already made decisions about the way of the law.

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Jennifer Dunn, chief executive of the London-based Women’s Abuse Institute, said her group had not been consulted and reiterated concerns about the bill being rushed through.

A roundtable discussion on the bill was held in August with women who have been victims of domestic violence, when they described how this change in the law came out “very sad.” said Dunn.

“Drunk has always been used to harm and condemn survivors. Now we are all watching in real time as this vessel of drunkenness is being used to protect and comfort criminals,” he said. Dunn said.

He said many survivors say they are “concerned about the Supreme Court’s priorities.”

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Lametti said Monday that the legal defense of actual intoxication is “difficult to use and very difficult to apply successfully,” as it carries a high burden of proof and requires expert testimony.

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No cases using this defense have successfully reached the courts since the change to the Criminal Code passed in June, Lametti added. But there is little relief for victims of violence and former workers, Dunn said in his testimony last week.

“You can’t ask survivors who have always failed to trust that this won’t get worse,” he said.

“Women have been in situations where they’ve been told things that shouldn’t happen, and then they end up in these situations in the criminal justice system.”

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Concerns have also been raised about the legal implications of the bill that has been released by the government, including the National Association of Women and the Law.

In a letter to lawmakers last spring, legal expert Kerri Froc said it may be too difficult for prosecutors to prove, as the wording requires. of the bill, a reasonable person could foresee that alcohol could lead them to violence.

Lametti says he disagrees with this assessment.

“In my view, this new law will be enforced,” he said. “Parliament has given a clear signal that anyone who freely consumes alcohol in circumstances without regard for the safety of others will be held responsible if they continue to engage in violence.”

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Asked why the government decided not to invoke the clauses in response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Lametti said legal measures should be used as a last resort.

The court’s decision gave two views on how Parliament could change the Penal Code to make drunken people liable for violent crimes, Lametti said.

“So, here they gave us two ways to do it without violating people’s rights and we took one of them.”

— With files from the Canadian Press


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