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R v. Butler Case

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Karlos Quiroz

on 28 November 2013

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Transcript of R v. Butler Case

R v. Butler Case
Result- Freedom of Expression
The Court found laws against obscenity would breach freedom of expression.
In this case, the expression was meant to be sexually exciting.
Court also noted that degrading sex may not be protected by the Charter, but a
of it would be expression.
Attorney General of British Columbia's view: films could not be as expressive as writing
Supreme Court rejected this idea, due to the fact that in making a film, many creative choices in editing will have to be made.
Analysis was divided into 3 categories:
Explicit sex with violence
Explicit sex without violence, but which subjects participants to treatment that is degrading or dehumanizing
Explicit sex without violence that is neither degrading nor dehumanizing
Decision on pornography and state censorship
Court had to balance the right to freedom of expression under Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with women's rights. (lol)
Outcome --> Victory for Anti-pornography feminism and Women's Legal Education
--> Loss for alternative sexualities
Originated in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Donald Victor Butler: Opened a store called "Avenue Video Boutique"
Handled pornographic videos and magazines and sexual objects.
(dildos, butt plugs, etc)

August 21, the police arrived with a search warrant and seized all the inventory and then charged Butler with possession and distribution of obscenity.
Butler was charged with 77 counts total. Two counts of selling obscene material, 73 counts for possessing obscene material for the purpose of distribution, and one count of possessing obscene material for the purpose of sale.
Butler was found guilty of eight charges. He had to pay $1000 per offense.
Various women rights groups were unhappy with the verdict, so Butler had to go back into court 3 years later where he was again found guilty.
This case modified pornography legislation in Canada.
The Justice Sopinka later stated that Section 1 of the Charter, "will almost always constitute the undue exploitation of sex."
Section 2, "may be undue if the risk of harm is substantial."
Section 3, "is generally tolerated in our society and will not qualify as the undue exploitation of sex unless it employs children in its production.
Full transcript