SCC Case Information
Ivana Levkovic v. Her Majesty the Queen
(Ontario) (Criminal) (By Leave)
Canadian charter - criminal.
Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch) for information purposes only.
Charter of Rights and Freedoms Constitutional Law Right to Liberty Criminal Law Offences Whether parts of s. 243 of Criminal Code are unconstitutionally vague In its application to a “child” that dies before birth, does s. 243 of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C 46, infringe s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? If so, is the infringement a reasonable limit prescribed by law that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society under s. 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
The appellant was charged under s. 243 with concealing the dead body of a child. At issue is whether the words “child died before . . . birth” are vague and therefore whether s. 243 breaches s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The trial judge held that he could not determine a coherent, unambiguous meaning for the term “child” in the context of a death that occurs before birth. He severed the word “before”, leaving s. 243 to read “. . . whether the child died during or after birth. . .”. Because the Crown could not establish the cause or time of death, he acquitted the appellant. The Court of Appeal held that s. 243 is not unconstitutionally vague. It allowed the appeal, set aside the acquittal and ordered a new trial.