The Supreme Court examines the notion of bestiality

cour-supreme-canadaThe Supreme Court of Canada began hearing arguments Monday to determine if all sexual acts involving animals bestiality – which means they would be declared illegal.

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WARNING: This text contains explicit content that might offend some readers.

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The case that was brought before the highest court of the country involves a man from British Columbia who was convicted of sexually assaulting his two daughters for a decade. Some of the assaults involved the family dog.

The man – who can not be named to protect the identity of his victims – was found guilty of eight counts of sexual assault, two counts of child pornography and two counts of bestiality.

The assailant, identified only by the initials DLW, appealed a conviction for bestiality. He believes not having committed any crime since the act itself did not involve sex.

Two of the three judges of the Court of Appeal of British Columbia who have heard the case ruled in favor of the defense and the sentence was abandoned.

But since a judge dissented, the Crown was allowed to take the case to the Supreme Court.

DLW – who is serving 16 years in prison – and his lawyers have maintained their arguments before the highest court in the land.

For its part, the Crown argued that the intention behind the prohibition of bestiality includes any form of sexual activity with an animal, not just sex.

Prior to 1955, bestiality was linked to laws that criminalized anal sex. The law prohibiting sodomy with a human being or with any other living creature.

Bestiality became a separate offense in 1987 when Parliament passed a series of laws to strengthen legislation on sexual assaults against children.

The Crown argues that interpreting bestiality as a form of sodomy, according to the laws in force before 1955 would result in criminalizing anal intercourse between a human and an animal, but nothing incriminate vaginal penetration.

Crown added that the narrow interpretation of the law would lead to absurd situations, listing a series of sexual acts between a child and an animal that would not be permitted in this context.

Janine Benedet, who is a professor of law at the University of British Columbia, is confident to see the Supreme Court adopt “a more modern interpretation of offenses related to bestiality,” as it has done with other offenses sexual in nature.

“The old interpretation of rape necessarily implies a penetration (…). There are a variety of sexual acts which, if forced, can be deeply traumatic and put all the attention on the penetration is misguided. ”

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