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Canada: Supreme Court says judges can ban convicted sexual predators from Internet

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court took steps Thursday to bring the law up to speed to protect children in the rapidly evolving realm of cyberspace in a ruling allowing judges to ban convicted sexual predators from using the Internet.

The case turned on one narrow legal issue — whether a new law can be retroactively applied to case that predated it.

As a matter of legal principle, the high court rarely allows laws to be applied retroactively, especially when it comes to changes in criminal law on how punishment is to be meted out.

But in Thursday’s 7-2 ruling, the court made an exception, saying the retroactive imposition of a ban on Internet usage was called for because of “grave, emerging harms precipitated by a rapidly evolving social and technological context.” Full Article

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  1. Chris F

    I’m confused how this works there in Canada. Are they saying a judge can rule that someone can’t use the internet during probation or after he served his time and is “free”?

    • Mike

      It is a confusing article, it states the man was sentenced to a 9 year prison sentence but only a 7 year internet ban, so for 2 years he can use the internet from prison? How progressive of the judge!

    • WantsToHelp

      He was banned from using a computer to communicate with minors under 16 for seven years. This was part of his sentence. But the Internet aspect of it was based on an older law that allowed judges to forbid contact with minors without specifically include the Internet as one of the options. The new amended law that did include the Internet as a banned option was adopted after his conviction. So he appealed saying the Internet didn’t apply because it wasn’t part of the law he was sentenced under. The judges ruled that even though it wasn’t part of the law he was sentenced under, the ban on contacting minors over the Internet could still apply retroactively.

      At least that’s the way I interpreted the article. What the article completely leaves out is what his “ban” includes. It says that it is a “broad” Internet ban. Does this ban him from the Internet completely? Just social media? Or simply ban him from contacting minors using a computer, which includes the Internet? I’m guessing one of the former, but it’s impossible to really know.

      Either way, this appears to be very different from how broad-sweeping retroactive laws have been applied in the United States as the ban on contacting children was specifically part of this his sentence for a specific duration of time.

      • Timmr

        The last paragraph talks about the benefits of monitoring, doesn’t mention banning, very confusing.

  2. nomore

    Chris F:

    Looks like it’s applied retroassidly so probably after as well. So much for the constitution… Oh wait, it’s Canada. lol

  3. Mike r

    cant open it?????

  4. Mike r

    disgusting something radical needs to happen to stop these laws it’s just getting worse and worse these evil people need to be brought to Justice in the here and now not wait until they die and hope they get what’s coming to them in the afterlife…

  5. Mike r

    if they try banning a person from going to college or living in certain areas and from using the Internet here in ca I can tell you right now someone is going to go all out postal..you can only push people so far before they snap. it’ll come down to what Patrick Henry said “give me liberty or give me death “

    • rob

      They have already been banning some sex offenders from attending college in Florida.

  6. Kris Klein

    That’s why I really don’t pay much attention to sex offender related articles pertaining to foreign countries. For one, their laws and culture are totally different. And two, you’re never going to find anything in any other country that compares to the hell registered offenders go thru in America. So why bother looking at foreign places unless I want to travel there. But America even sets limits on that

  7. MatthewLL

    I too was confused at the ruling, as it was described in the article. If you actually read the court’s opinion, it is not as bad as it initially appears. The statute in question has to do with their equivalent to probation restrictions, what they call Orders of Prohibition, which are applied to certain offenders. The statute requires the sentencing court to consider and authorize it to prohibit an offender from certain conduct for a specific time period. The sentencing judge uses its discretion, based on the facts of the case, and evaluated risk to the public. This is similar to our probation restrictions, nothing more.

    In 2012, the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, was modified to allow a prohibition order preventing access to the internet or interaction with a minors. The question before the court was could these new authorized restrictions be imposed on an offender who committed his offense prior to 2012. The court said yes to the internet restriction, but no to the blanket restriction to interacting with minors.

    This ruling only applies to offenders who committed their offense prior to 2012, but were sentenced after 2012. It only authorizes the court to use its discretion to impose such restrictions, but does not mandate the court to do so.

    No one who has been sentenced already will be affected by this at all. It does not impact anyone who is already on the registry or who was previously convicted of an offense. In this particular case, the offender was given a 7 year Order of Prohibition from the internet, effective after he is released from incarceration.

  8. Jon

    Canada gets a fake reputation for its government being more advanced and sophisticated. Yet a lot of the crap, like this internet restriction — and even the Static-99R scam — come from the fakers up north. Nothing good from Canada ever comes out. I think the Static-99R is one of the few things we’ve imported from Canada. Oh, and Justin Bieber.

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