Liberal sexual assault reform, Ed Prutschi, Newstalk 1010 Legal Analyst.

In the wake of the acquittals for former CBC host, Jian Ghomeshi, the federal Liberal government enacted a series of significant reforms to the Criminal Code impacting how sexual assault trials would be conducted. One of those reforms created a unique requirement upon the defence to disclose information in its possession such as text messages, e-mails, or social media material of a complainant in cases of this nature.

Criminal defence lawyers have raised significant concerns about the advance disclosure of potentially explosive evidence that could contradict the evidence of a complainant in a sexual assault case. By forcing defendants to provide advance notice to complainants of these items, the fundamental element of surprise has been eliminated from cross-examination in this specific sub-set of cases. Vigorous cross-examination of a witness is the single most important tool to ensure fairness and justice in criminal trials. A Saskatchewan court has ruled that forcing advance disclosure undermines the right to vigorous cross-examination and impacts the fair-trial rights of criminal defendants.

Drawing on his decades of experience successfully defending sexual assault cases, criminal lawyer Edward Prutschi speaks to Jerry Agar on NewsTalk1010 about this important decision.

Edward Prutschi

Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman

5000 Yonge Street, Suite 1708

Toronto, ON M2N 7E9

416-365-0853 (Tel)

416-365-0866 (Fax)

Twitter @Prutschi

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About the author

I am one of the senior partners at Bytensky Shikhman, a criminal litigation firm in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In my 25+ year career, I have conducted numerous trials and appeals before all levels of Court in Ontario, defending just about every type of charge in our criminal law. I am also an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School and currently the Treasurer of the Criminal Lawyers' Association of Ontario. I am also an Adjunct Professor for Trial Advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and a regular lecturer and placement supervisor for Osgoode's Intensive Programme in Criminal Law.
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