No, Intoxication Is Not A Legitimate Defence For Sexual Assault In Ontario
No, Intoxication Is Not A Legitimate Defence For Sexual Assault In Ontario
That's not what the Court of Appeal said, and reporting otherwise is both misleading and harmful

Vanshika Dhawan is a writer and law student based in Toronto. You can find her on Twitter @vdhwn.

Earlier this month, the Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) released a unanimous 110-page decision for the companion cases of R v Sullivan and R v Chan. Perhaps you saw the tweets linking to various articles on the decision, with headlines like, “Ontario court throws out law barring self-induced intoxication as defence for sexual assault.” Maybe you caught the chyron on CP24 that read, “Ontario Court of Appeal rules intoxication can be used as a defence in sexual assault and violent crimes cases,” or MPP Jill Andrew’s tweet that shared a photo of it. If you were enraged by the far-reaching implications for sexual assault survivors, you may have been one of the nearly 300,000 people who signed this statement calling for an appeal, or one of the many others who signed this petition, or this one.

I think you should be getting our newsletter

Get a weekly note about our top stories.

This is a good thing that we do. You'll like this.

Latest Stories
Hunting Nazis Online Before It Was Cool
The CBC fired a reporter who tried to blow the whistle on systemic racism
Essential Voices: Working in the Pandemic
This is such an easy decision!Support our stuff, we'll make you proud.

We are a very rare kind of company – actually and truly independent journalism. 

We tell great stories that need to be told, without fear or favour.

We work for you.

Support us. We uncover secrets and hold the powerful to account. 

We've done it before. We keep doing it. 

Plus: ad-free podcasts, maybe some socks or a t-shirt. Up to you.