Date of Award
This thesis examines the issue of gender equality in the Canadian criminal justice system. It dissects two specific issues, the disclosure of a sexual assault complainant's therapeutic or counselling records and the prosecution of domestic assault charges. Within these two issues it is argued that the criminal justice system has failed to treat female victims of violent crime fairly and equally. Moreover, it is suggested that this failure is anchored in a neglect of the appreciation of the unique gender issues connected to these matters within a contextual framework. With regards to the disclosure issue, a fundamental tenet, the presumption of innocence, and the accused's right to full answer and defence conflict with the complainant's rights to privacy and equality before the law. Related to the matter of the prosecution of domestic assault charges, two recent initiatives in Ontario are presented. The numerous potential causes and consequences of domestic violence are reviewed to depict the complexities associated with the issue and to stress that there is no simple solution to the potentially fatal crimes. Lastly, any meaningful reform must begin with a contextual appreciation of the gender components of the issues.
P. Michael Cantlon, Women's Equality in the Canadian Criminal Justice System: Something Less than a Fair Shake (LLM Thesis, Dalhousie University, 1999) [unpublished].