R. V. SHARPE AND THE DEFENCE OF ARTISTIC MERIT
The impact of judicial decisions is sometimes most significant and most controversial in relation to matters that were not at the forefront in the legal proceedings. The decision in R. v. Sharpe1 may be such a case. In this decision, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld, with minor qualifications, the offence of private possession of child pornography under section 163.1 of the Criminal Code.2 The case was argued and resolved largely as an issue of privacy — could the prohibition on child pornography extend to private possession, while remaining within constitutional limits?
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