The Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 10, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Canada’s top court orders new trial over ‘friends with benefits’ claim in sex assault case

A complainant’s sexual history can’t ordinarily be used as evidence unless directly relevant to a charge

Canada’s top court says an Edmonton man shouldn’t have been able to tell a jury that he was in a “friends-with-benefits” relationship with an alleged sexual assault victim.

Patrick John Goldfinch was charged in 2014 with assaulting a woman he once lived with, but was acquitted by a jury.

A complainant’s sexual history can’t ordinarily be used as evidence unless it’s directly relevant to the charge.

The trial judge allowed the information over concerns that jurors would have thought the relationship was platonic — a decision that the majority of the Alberta Court of Appeal disagreed with and ordered a new trial.

The Supreme Court of Canada agrees with the Alberta Court of Appeal, and is ordering a new trial.

ALSO READ: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

In a 6-1 ruling this morning, the court says the evidence was only used to suggest that the alleged victim was likely to consent to sex with Goldfinch because she had consented in the past, which isn’t allowed under the “rape-shield” law.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three celebrations this summer in Parksville for city’s big 75th birthday bash

Beach party and street festival to be added to city’s roster of activities

New BC Cannabis store opens up shop in Parksville

Outlet at Wembley Mall open seven days per week

Transit BC to replace Regional District of Nanaimo’s handyDart bus fleet

New vehicles will be gas-powered, with better loading and unloading capabilities

‘We could see fire all over the landscape’: Parksville man recounts helping crews in Australia

Kevin Cochrane of the Coastal Fire Centre spent 38 days Down Under

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Was Bigfoot just spotted on a Washington State webcam?

Sherman Pass is rougly 70 kilometres south of Grand Forks, B.C.

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Most Read