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We Live in The 21st Century, But The Criminal Justice System Doesn’t

Updated: Jun 8

BY: Amelia Kwan

Over the past two decades, we seem to have at least made some progress in regards to making society a more inclusive, welcoming and safe place for anybody, no matter their race, age, sexuality, or otherwise. Spreading awareness, funding programs for minorities and groups at risk, and promoting the need for diversity.

At this point, we should be skyrocketing towards a better and brighter future where no one is disadvantaged. We can frolick around with rainbows and sparkles in this modern utopia called the 21st century. Maybe your parents will finally let you have a pony.

That is, of course, until you find a predator knocking on your door after being released from prison by using voluntary intoxication as a legitimate defence for sexual assault.

Or until your black best friend dies from asphyxiation at the hands of a police officer. That pretty much happens all the time anyway.

Ontario’s Court of Appeal has recently discarded a law that bans an accused person from using intoxication as a defence case, saying that it “tramples charter rights” and is “unconstitutional”.

Apparently, being drunk out of your mind is a perfectly legitimate excuse to rape someone. But have no fear! If you ever get sexually assaulted, don’t worry - instead of being charged and imprisoned, your assaulter will instead have to write a note that says “sorry” on it and slip it into your mailbox.

If intoxication “enables the conviction of individuals for acts they do not will”, at least according to the court, then I suppose that should also be applied to murder, hate speech, robbery, and any other possible transgression.

And what is the victim supposed to do? Throw their hands in the air and say, “Oh, they were intoxicated? Yeah, I suppose that makes it okay. I’ll just head on home now.” If this is what the Ontario Court thinks is justice, then Donald Trump is the best President the United States has ever seen.

Intoxication as a defence for sexual assault is not only dated by several decades, but it propogates a problematic system that makes it incredibly difficult for victims to heal and feel safe. In fact, victims are far less likely to speak up about sexual assault when the court sides with their attacker. Not to mention the fact that two months ago, Ford axed a $1M funding boost for rape crisis centres.

Welcome to Ontario.

*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.


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