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Supreme Court of Canada Rules in Favour of Expanded Rape Shield Laws

Expanded rules prevent sexual assault complainant's past from being used against them during court trials.

The Supreme Court of Canada has voted to uphold expansions made four years ago to Canada's rape shield laws. 

In a 6-3 ruling made earlier today, the court says the expanded rules to further prevent a sexual assault complainant's past from being used to discredit them during a trial are constitutional. 

Rape shield laws were initially enacted four decades ago, to protect sexual assault complainant from having their sexual history used against them in court. 

According to the Criminal Code, evidence of a complainant's prior sexual activities unrelated to the charges at hand can only be allowed following a private hearing with a judge. 

It also can't be used to suggest the plaintiff isn't trustworthy. 

Four years ago, the Liberals expanded the definition of what that evidence includes, adding emails and videos of a sexual nature, as well as documents the accused may have about the complainant. 

It also granted plaintiffs the right to partake in the screening hearing with the judge and be represented by a lawyer. 

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