John Robin Sharpe Before the Supreme Court of Canada

The high-profile Constitutional law case of John Robin Sharpe is currently before the Supreme Court of Canada. The case relates to charges laid against Mr. Sharpe in 1995 for possession and distribution of child pornography. At his trial, Mr. Sharpe successfully argued that the broadly drawn possession offence was unconstitutional and should be struck down. On appeal the BC Court of Appeal upheld the trial decision. The case before the Supreme Court is an appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeal. The Crown’s Counsel in the proceedings are John M. Gordon and Kate Ker from the Attorney-General’s Department in Vancouver. Mr. Sharpe is being represented by Gil McKinnon, Q.C., Richard Peck, Q.C., and Nikos Harris from Peck & Tammen.

The case also involves a large cast of interveners: Cheryl J. Tobias and Kenneth J. Yule of Justice Canada in Vancouver are representing the Attorney-General of Canada; James H. Flaherty, Christine Bartlett-Hughes and Laurie Lacelle of the Ontario Attorney-General’s Department are representing the Attorney-General for Ontario; Joanne Marceau and Jacques Gauvin from the Justice Department of Quebec are representing the Procureure Generale du Quebec; Daniel A. MacRury from the Crown Attorney’s Office in Nova Scotia is representing the Attorney-General of Nova Scotia; Mary Elizabeth Beaton from the Public Prosecution’s Office in New Brunswick is representing the Attorney-General of New Brunswick; Shawn Greenberg from the Manitoba Department of Justice is representing the Attorney-General of Manitoba; Joshua B. Hawkes from the Alberta Department of Justice is representing the Attorney-General of Alberta; Timothy S. B. Danson of Danson, Recht & Freedman in Toronto is representing the Canadian Police Association and others; Robert W. Staley, Meredith Hayward and Janet Buckingham Epp of Bennett Jones in Toronto are representing the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and others; David Matas, Marc Eric Hecht and Jean-Francois Noel are representing Beyond Borders et al; John D. McAlpine, Q.C., and Andrew D. Gay of McAlpine Gudmundseth with Bruce Ryder of the Osgoode Hall Law School are representing the BC Civil Liberties Association; Trisha Jackson, Tyco Manson and Katrina Wyman of Torys are representing the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; and Frank Addario of Sack, Goldblatt, Mitchell is representing the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.