Oakes Case

Oakes Case 1986, in which David E. Oakes was accused of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking.

Oakes Case 1986, in which David E. Oakes was accused of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. The Supreme Court of Canada concluded that, even if drugs are a scourge, s8 of the Narcotic Control Act runs counter to the presumption of innocence enshrined in s11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 8 states that if a person is found in possession of a drug, he is presumed to have intended to traffic in it. This constitutes a limitation of rights and freedoms which cannot be justified in a free and democratic society according to s1 of the Charter.

To meet the basic criteria of s1 of the Charter, one must prove the existence of a purpose of sufficient importance to justify the suppression of a right. The concerns must be urgent and real. Moreover the means used to achieve this objective must be reasonable and the measures must not be arbitrary, unfair or irrational. The Court in this instance ruled that s8 did not meet the criterion of a rational connection between possession and drug trafficking. This judgement is the most important to date by the Supreme Court concerning s1 of the Charter.