Ross McKenzie Kirkpatrick v. Her Majesty The Queen

(British Columbia) (Criminal) (By Leave)

(Publication ban in case)


Criminal law - Offences - Sexual assault - Consent - Whether the use of a condom and/or contraceptives forms part of the sexual activity a person is consenting to pursuant to s. 273.1(1) of the Criminal Code - Whether the failure of a party to advise a sexual partner that a condition or quality of the sexual activity they have agreed to is absent constitutes some evidence of fraud under s. 265(3) of the Criminal Code - Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, ss. 265(3)(c), 273.1(1).


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The appellant, Mr. Kirkpatrick, was charged with sexual assault. The complainant told the appellant that she insisted on condom use during sexual intercourse. They engaged in intercourse on two occasions, but on the second occasion, unbeknownst to the complainant, the appellant did not wear a condom. The complainant testified that she had not consented to intercourse without a condom, and her evidence was that she would not have done so if asked.

At trial, following a successful no evidence motion, the appellant was acquitted of sexual assault. Relying on R. v. Hutchinson, 2014 SCC 19, [2014] 1 S.C.R. 346, the trial judge found that under s. 273.1 of the Criminal Code, there was no evidence that the complainant had not consented to the sexual activity in question. Turning to s. 265(3)(c) of the Code, the trial judge concluded that there was also no evidence to show that the appellant had acted fraudulently.

The Court of Appeal unanimously allowed the Crown’s appeal and remitted the matter for a new trial. On the issue of consent, Groberman J.A. (with Saunders J.A. concurring) held that the majority decision of the Court in Hutchinson allowed a person to limit their consent to sexual intercourse on the condition that their partner wear a condom. He held that sexual intercourse with a condom is a different physical act than sexual intercourse without a condom. The complainant had therefore not consented to the sexual activity in question under s. 273.1 of the Criminal Code. Bennett J.A. was instead of the view that the majority in Hutchinson clearly stated that the use of a condom was to be determined under s. 265(3) of the Code - whether consent was vitiated by fraud. She therefore agreed with the trial judge that there was no evidence to suggest that the complainant had not voluntarily agreed to the sexual activity in question.

On the issue of fraud, Bennett J.A. (Saunders J.A. concurring in the alternative) ruled that the complainant’s consent was vitiated by fraud as the appellant had been dishonest when he did not disclose that he had not worn a condom and that there had been deprivation. Groberman J.A. held that the trial judge did not err in holding that there was no evidence to support that the appellant had acted fraudulently.

Lower Court Rulings

November 6, 2018
Provincial Court of British Columbia

Acquittal for sexual assault
May 13, 2020
Court of Appeal for British Columbia (Vancouver)

2020 BCCA 136, CA45759
Appeal allowed, acquittal set aside and new trial ordered