Implications of Racism in Canadian Society: R.D.S. v. The Queen

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Implications of Racism in Canadian Society: R.D.S. v. The Queen

"The courtroom is no place to find the truth."

This quotation is taken from a Hollywood film, but has a tendency to ring true in legal disputes in Canada involving minority groups. Racism as a component in the Canadian societal context has prevented the realization of truth and justice throughout history. For instance, Donald Marshall Jr. endured a wrongful conviction as a result of racism in the criminal justice system. While this dilemma has proved to be most difficult for minority groups to overcome, critical race theory, as implemented by defence lawyers in R.D.S. v. The Queen, has allowed for the realization of racism as truth in Canadian society and provides a
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The controversy that eventually brought the case to the Supreme Court of Canada was based in Judge Sparks' comments:

I'm not saying the constable has misled the court, although police officers have been known to do that in the past. And I'm not saying that the officer overreacted, but police officers certainly do overreact, particularly when they're dealing with non-white groups. That, to me, indicates a state of mind right there that is questionable. I believe that probably the situation in this particular case is the case of a young police officer who overreacted. And I do accept the evidence of Mr. S. that he was told to shut up or he would be under arrest. That seems to be in keeping with the prevalent attitude of the day.(2)

In making her decision, Judge Sparks reiterated what every reasonable Canadian knows: racism exists in Canada and permeates the criminal justice system. There was no tangible proof of racism in this particular case, but none was required, as its presence can be taken for granted. However, the case was appealed, as the Crown alleged racial bias on the part of the trial judge.(3) Chief Justice Glube found that there was "reasonable apprehension of racial bias on the part of Judge Sparks" and ordered a new trial.(4) Glube's decision was upheld in this trial, and a further appeal resulted in the case being heard in the Supreme Court

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