R. v. Audet (Y.), (1996) 175 N.B.R.(2d) 81 (SCC)

JudgeLa Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin and Major, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateMay 30, 1996
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1996), 175 N.B.R.(2d) 81 (SCC);[1996] 2 SCR 171;106 CCC (3d) 481;135 DLR (4th) 20;30 WCB (2d) 563;446 APR 81;48 CR (4th) 1;[1996] SCJ No 61 (QL);175 NBR (2d) 81;197 NR 172;1996 CanLII 198 (SCC);AZ-96111072;JE 96-1162;[1996] ACS no 61

R. v. Audet (Y.) (1996), 175 N.B.R.(2d) 81 (SCC);

    175 R.N.-B.(2e) 81; 446 A.P.R. 81

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Her Majesty The Queen (appellant) v. Yves Audet (respondent)

(24653)

Indexed As: R. v. Audet (Y.)

Supreme Court of Canada

La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin and Major, JJ.

May 30, 1996.

Summary:

Audet, a teacher, was charged with sexual exploitation of a young person, contrary to s. 153(1)(a) of the Criminal Code. The alleged acts took place during the summer holidays. The victim was a 14-year-old girl who Audet had taught and was to teach again.

The New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Division, in a judgment re­ported 142 N.B.R.(2d) 382; 364 A.P.R. 382, acquitted Audet. The Crown appealed.

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal, Ayles, J.A., dissenting, in a judgment re­ported 155 N.B.R.(2d) 369; 398 A.P.R. 369, dismissed the appeal. The Crown appealed again.

The Supreme Court of Canada, Major and Sopinka, JJ., dissenting, allowed the appeal and convicted Audet.

Criminal Law - Topic 703

Sexual offences - Sexual exploitation of a young person - On July 9, 1992, Audet, a teacher, arrived at a club with his friend Maltais - J.S., a 14-year-old student who Audet had taught and was to teach again, arrived at the club with her two older cousins - Maltais persuaded the three girls and Audet to accompany him to a nearby cottage - Audet complained of a headache and tiredness and went to bed - J.S. joined him after he fell asleep - Later, J.S. and Audet engaged in sexual acts - Audet was charged with sexual exploitation of a young person - The Supreme Court of Canada convicted Audet as he was in a position of trust or authority with respect to J.S.

Criminal Law - Topic 703

Sexual offences - Sexual exploitation of a young person - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of the ex­pression "position of trust or authority" found in s. 153(1)(a) of the Criminal Code - The court stated that "in the vast ma­jority of cases teachers will indeed be in a position of trust and authority towards their students" and that "in the absence of evidence raising a reasonable doubt in the mind of the trier of fact, it cannot be con­cluded that a teacher is not in a position of trust and authority towards his or her students without going against common sense" - See paragraphs 33 to 45.

Criminal Law - Topic 703

Sexual offences - Sexual exploitation of a young person - Section 153(1) of the Criminal Code set out the offence of sexual exploitation of a young person by a person in a position of trust or authority -The Supreme Court of Canada declined to find "that the Crown is required to prove, for purposes of s. 153(1) of the [Criminal] Code, that the accused abused his or her position of trust or authority towards or relationship of dependence with the young person" - See paragraphs 14 to 26.

Criminal Law - Topic 4975

Appeals - Indictable offences - Powers of Court of Appeal - Appeal from an acquit­tal - Audet, a teacher, was charged with sexual exploitation of a young person, contrary to s. 153(1)(a) of the Criminal Code - The alleged acts took place during the summer holidays - The trial judge acquitted Audet, holding that he was neither in a position to exercise some sort of power over the complainant nor in a position of trust within the meaning of s. 153(1) - On appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada reversed as erroneous the trial judge's decision on Audet's position - The court exercised the powers provided by s. 686(4)(b)(ii) of the Code and convicted Audet because the uncontested evidence left the court in no doubt that a guilty verdict was appropriate and desirable - See paragraphs 30 to 48.

Words and Phrases

Position of trust or authority - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of the expression "position of trust or authority" found in s. 153(1)(a) of the Criminal Code - The court stated that "in the vast majority of cases teachers will indeed be in a position of trust and au­thority towards their students" and that "in the absence of evidence raising a reason­able doubt in the mind of the trier of fact, it cannot be concluded that a teacher is not in a position of trust and authority towards his or her students without going against common sense" - See paragraphs 33 to 45.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Léon (A.), [1992] R.L. 478; 44 Q.A.C. 143 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 6].

R. v. L.A.M. (1993), 86 Man.R.(2d) 179 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. P.S., [1993] O.J. No. 704 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 8].

Norberg v. Wynrib, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 226; 138 N.R. 81; 9 B.C.A.C. 1; 19 W.A.C. 1, dist. [paras. 10, 24].

R. v. Palmer, [1990] O.J. No. 51 (Dist. Ct.), refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Hann (R.D.) (1990), 86 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 33; 268 A.P.R. 33 (Nfld. T.D.), refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Dunk (1991), 117 A.R. 161; 2 W.A.C. 161 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 11].

R. v. T.F.G. (1992), 55 O.A.C. 355; 11 C.R.(4th) 221 (C.A.), motion for leave to appeal denied [1992] 3 S.C.R. ix; 145 N.R. 392; 62 O.A.C. 160, refd to. [para. 11].

Eastman Photographic Materials Co. v. Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade-Marks, [1898] A.C. 571 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 14].

R. v. Jobidon, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 714; 128 N.R. 321; 49 O.A.C. 83; 66 C.C.C.(3d) 454, refd to. [para. 20].

R. v. Dussiaume (1995), 80 O.A.C. 115; 98 C.C.C.(3d) 217 (Ont. C.A.), leave to appeal refused [1995] 4 S.C.R. vi, refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Morin, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 345; 88 N.R. 161; 30 O.A.C. 81; 44 C.C.C.(3d) 193; 66 C.R.(3d) 1, consd. [para. 30].

R. v. MacKenzie, [1993] 1 S.C.R. 212; 146 N.R. 321; 118 N.S.R.(2d) 290; 327 A.P.R. 290; 78 C.C.C.(3d) 193, consd. [para. 30].

R. v. Cassidy, [1989] 2 S.C.R. 345; 100 N.R. 321; 36 O.A.C. 1, consd. [para. 31].

Attis v. Board of Education of District No. 15 (1996), 195 N.R. 81; 171 N.B.R.(2d) 321; 437 A.P.R. 321 (S.C.C.), consd. [para. 41].

Ross v. New Brunswick School District No. 15 - see Attis v. Board of Edu­cation of District No. 15.

R. v. Forde, [1992] O.J. No. 1698 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 41].

R. v. Downey and Reynolds, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 10; 136 N.R. 266; 125 A.R. 342; 14 W.A.C. 342; 72 C.C.C.(3d) 1, refd to. [para. 44].

R. v. Vaillancourt, [1987] 2 S.C.R. 636; 81 N.R. 115; 10 Q.A.C. 161; 68 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 281; 209 A.P.R. 281; 60 C.R.(3d) 289; 39 C.C.C.(3d) 118, refd to. [para. 44].

R. v. Whyte, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 3; 86 N.R. 328; 64 C.R.(3d) 123; 6 M.V.R.(2d) 138; [1988] 5 W.W.R. 26; 42 C.C.C.(3d) 97; 29 B.C.L.R.(2d) 273; 51 D.L.R.(4th) 481; 35 C.R.R. 1, refd to. [para. 44].

R. v. Sault Ste. Marie (City), [1978] 2 S.C.R. 1299; 21 N.R. 295; 85 D.L.R.(3d) 161; 40 C.C.C.(2d) 353; 3 C.R.(3d) 30; 7 C.E.L.R. 53, refd to. [para. 45].

Reference Re Section 94(2) of the Motor Vehicle Act (B.C.), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 486; 63 N.R. 266; [1986] 1 W.W.R. 481; 23 C.C.C.(3d) 289; 48 C.R.(3d) 289; 69 B.C.L.R. 145; 36 M.V.R. 240; 18 C.R.R. 30; 24 D.L.R.(4th) 536, refd to. [para. 56].

Statutes Noticed:

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 153(1) [paras. 14, 51]; sect. 265(3), sect. 273.1 [para. 21]; sect. 686(4) [para. 30].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Bryant, Alan W., The Issue of Consent in the Crime of Sexual Assault (1989), 68 Can. Bar Rev. 94, pp. 127 to 131 [para. 20].

Canada, Committee on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths, Sexual Offences Against Children, Ottawa, Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1984, generally [paras. 6, 52].

Coleman, Phyllis, Sex in Power De­pen­dency Relationships: Taking Unfair Advantage of the "Fair" Sex, generally (1988), 53 Alb. L. Rev. 95 [para. 40].

Robert de la langue française, Le Grand, 2e éd., 1986, "autorité" [para. 34]; "con­fiance" [para. 35].

Oxford English Dictionary (2nd Ed. 1989), "authority" [para. 34]; "confidence", "trust" [para. 35].

Counsel:

François Doucet, for the appellant;

Anne E. Bertrand and Paul A. Bertrand, for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record:

François Doucet, Campbellton, New Brunswick, for the appellant;

Bertrand & Bertrand, Fredericton, New Brunswick, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on January 25, 1996, by La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, So­pinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin and Major, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The judgment of the Supreme Court was delivered in both official languages on May 30, 1996, and the following opinions were filed:

La Forest, J. (L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Cory and McLachlin, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 49;

Major, J., dissenting (Sopinka, J., con­cur­ring) - see paragraphs 50 to 76.

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