Oakes Case (R v. Oakes) | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Oakes Case (R v. Oakes)

In R v. Oakes (1986), David E. Oakes was accused of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. The Supreme Court of Canada concluded that section 8 of the Narcotic Control Act runs counter to the presumption of innocence enshrined in section 11(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 that cannot be justified in a free and democratic society, according to section 1 of the Charter. This judgement is the most important to date by the Supreme Court concerning section 1 of the Charter.
Supreme Court of Canada

To meet the basic criteria of section 1 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 section 8 did not meet the criterion of a rational connection between possession and drug trafficking.