Charter of Rights
Right to liberty
Right to security of person
Criminal Code provision prohibiting disposing of dead body of child with intent to conceal its delivery whether child died before, during or after birth
Whether provision is impermissibly vaguein its application to child that died before birth
Whether provision infringes rightsto liberty and security of person
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 7
Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, s. 243.Criminal Law
Concealing body of child
phrase “child [that] died .
. before birth” satisfies requirement of certainty —
Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, s. 243.
While cleaning a recently vacated apartment, a building superintendentdiscovered on the balcony a bag containing the remains of a human baby. Accordingto t
he Crown, the remains were of a female delivered “at or near full term”. The
cause of death could not be determined and it was unknown whether there had been alive birth. The accused was charged under s. 243 of the
withconcealing the dead body of a child. Before any evidence was called, she challengedthe constitutionality of s. 243 on the grounds that the section infringes her right toliberty and security under s. 7 of the
. The trial judge concluded that theconcept of a child that died before birth is unconstitutionally vague because he couldnot identify the moment on the gestational spectrum when a fetus becomes the bodyof a child for the purpose of s. 243.
He severed the word “before” from s
. 243. The