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CHARGED WITH BESTIALITY?
WHAT IS BESTIALITY?
Bestiality prohibits humans from having sexual intercourse with animals. Section 160 of the Criminal Code sets out the punishment for this offence as well as several parallel offences. These parallel offences include committing bestiality in the presence of another person who is less than 16 years old or inciting a person under the age of 16 to commit bestiality.
WHAT DOES THE PROSECUTION HAVE TO PROVE?
The essential elements of this offence include identity of the accused person and that the accused person performed vaginal or anal intercourse with an animal. For the parallel offence of compelling bestiality (contrary to section 160(2)), the prosecution would have to prove that the accused “compels another” to perform vaginal or anal intercourse with an animal.
The law had been in flux on whether oral contact between an animal and human would constitute bestiality. Courts have accepted guilty pleas and sentenced offenders based on oral sex between the accused and the animal. However, the Supreme Court considered this issue in 2016 in R v DLW,  1 SCR 402. At the trial DSW was convicted for allowing a dog to lick peanut butter off the complainant’s vagina. The complainant was under the age of 16 at the time. The trial judge preferred to interpret the current views of what would constitute a prohibited sexual act and convicted DLW as a result. The matter went through the appeal process.
The Court of Appeal concluded that bestiality includes penetration as an essential element. Therefore, the Court allowed the appeal and entered an acquittal. The Supreme Court agreed. Parliament had not changed the definition. The Supreme Court concluded that penetration is an essential element that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Defending BESTIALITY charges
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PENALTIES FOR BESTIALITY
EXPLORING LEGAL COURSES OF ACTION
If the conviction arises under bestiality simplicitor (section 160(1) or (2), there is no mandatory minimum. The sentencing range is variable. The maximum sentence is 10 years imprisonment.
If the conviction arises under bestiality in the presence of a child (section 160(3) the prosecution can proceed summarily. In this case, the mandatory minimum sentence is 6 months imprisonment. The mandatory minimum for section 160(3), if the crown proceeds by indictable, is 1 year imprisonment.