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.

Just Posted

CT scanner officially open in Smithers

As of noon on July 12 the machine had scanned 45 patients, five of which were emergency CT scans.

Musical collaboration comes together at Midsummer Music Festival

The project was done to acknowledge a potential for harmony among otherwise disparate communities.

WATCH: Mip performs at Bulkley Valley Brewery July 12

Catch two songs from Mip’s nearly three-hour set at the brewery on July 12.

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read