McLachlin’s Legacy on Criminal Law

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Law Times

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Kari, Shannon; Cameron, Jamie
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In one of the first criminal law cases to be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada after Beverley McLachlin was named its chief justice in January 2000, she wrote the dissenting judgment.The central issue in R. v. D.D. was when expert evidence is admissible on why a child did not immediately report an allegation of sexual abuse. For the majority, the answer was simple. An instruction to the jury that any delay in disclosure “signifies nothing” would suffice. An exclusionary rule was not the best approach argued McLachlin in her dissent.Children may delay disclosure of abuse for a variety of reasons and if an expert meets the legal test for admissibility, then this context could be helpful for a jury.