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  • The Canada Supreme Court in a recent judgment held that the country’s mandatory and lifetime registration against the sex offender register was unconstitutional.
  • The national sex offender registry created in 2004 under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) which had a mandatory registry of sex offenders was upheld invalid.
  • When the law changed in 2011, the prosecution was to apply earlier to a judge for including a name in the registry.
  • Ever since the amendment, Section 490.012 of the Criminal Code mandates the registration of anyone who is found to be guilty of a sexual offense.
  • Section 490.013(2.1) also provides for compulsory registration for life for those who committed more than one sexual offence.
  • As per the case brief prepared by the communications staff of the Supreme Court, in the writing of the majority of judges, Justice Andromache Karakatsanis and Justice Sheilah L Martin, held that the before-mentioned provisions of the Criminal Code are violative of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that it cannot be justified in a free and democratic society.
  • The judges observed that the provisions infringe the right to liberty under Section 7 of the Charter as registration impacts freedom of movement and fundamental choices of people who are not at potential risk of re-offending.
  • As per Section 7 of the Charter, everyone has a right to life, liberty, security of the person, and the right not to be deprived except by principles of fundamental justice.
  • The majority of the judges declared the provisions unconstitutional.
  • Supreme Court communications staff said that it has been informed that the invalidity of Section 490.012 is to take effect in a year and the finding for Section 490.01(2.1) will take effect immediately along with being rendered invalid from 2011, the time it was enacted.
  • Eugene Ndhlovuin, in 2015 challenged the validity of Sections 490.012 and 490.013(2.1) and pleaded guilty to two offences of sexual assault against two persons at a party when he was 19 years old, 4 years earlier.
  • He was punished with six months imprisonment and his name was added to the national sex offender registry automatically.
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