R. V Lavallee Case Study

1753 Words 8 Pages
In law, it is the duty of judges to be objective and have the same rules be applicable to all its subordinates, but is it fair to expect men and women to behave the same way in certain circumstances? In many cases judges must apply the objective standard of reasonableness to understand the actions of the appellant in the case. Women who are in an abusive relationship have a different state of mind therefore perceive and react to threats in a different manner. Such conditions may cause the women to suffer from battered woman syndrome. Thus, in such cases if a woman was to kill her abusive partner as a result of her fearing for her life, it should be justified in court as a valid self-defence claim. In R. v. Lavallee, Justice Wilson interpreted self-defence in a more gender sensitive manner by explaining why a battered woman would react the way she did in that given situation. Lavallee who is a woman was repeated abused by her common law partner Kevin Rust, to the point where one day his threat of killing her caused her to believe she had no reasonable alternative other than to shot him as he was walking away. There were many important issues discussed in this court decision, such as when expert testimony is admissible and relevant to the case, and how in the case of Lavallee, it is important to understand the state that the appellant was in at that time.

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