2 hrs 11 min

R. v. Mohsenipour Canada's Court: Oral Arguments from the SCC

    • Education

On December 22, 2016, the appellant, Mr. Mohsenipour, was charged with several offences related to his operation of a commercial sex trade, including living on the avails of prostitution between March 15 and December 5, 2014. Despite finding factual guilt on all counts, the trial judge quashed the living off the avails counts as unconstitutional, relying on Canada v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72. On December 20, 2013, in Bedford, the Court held that the offence of living off the avails of prostitution was overbroad and could not be saved under s. 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court suspended the declaration of invalidity for a period of one year.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed the Crown’s appeal and ordered that convictions be entered. Since Parliament replaced the offence with a new offence that largely mirrors its predecessor in substance but carves out a number of exceptions intended to address concerns over security of the person raised in Bedford within the period of the suspension, conduct captured by the former iteration of the offence during the suspended declaration of invalidity is prosecutable. During the suspension period, the offence was constitutionally valid. The retroactive effect of a suspended declaration of invalidity is pre-empted by the passing of remedial legislation: the declaration of invalidity never came into effect to render the provision a nullity ab initio.

On December 22, 2016, the appellant, Mr. Mohsenipour, was charged with several offences related to his operation of a commercial sex trade, including living on the avails of prostitution between March 15 and December 5, 2014. Despite finding factual guilt on all counts, the trial judge quashed the living off the avails counts as unconstitutional, relying on Canada v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72. On December 20, 2013, in Bedford, the Court held that the offence of living off the avails of prostitution was overbroad and could not be saved under s. 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court suspended the declaration of invalidity for a period of one year.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed the Crown’s appeal and ordered that convictions be entered. Since Parliament replaced the offence with a new offence that largely mirrors its predecessor in substance but carves out a number of exceptions intended to address concerns over security of the person raised in Bedford within the period of the suspension, conduct captured by the former iteration of the offence during the suspended declaration of invalidity is prosecutable. During the suspension period, the offence was constitutionally valid. The retroactive effect of a suspended declaration of invalidity is pre-empted by the passing of remedial legislation: the declaration of invalidity never came into effect to render the provision a nullity ab initio.

2 hrs 11 min

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