by Moha on March 17, 2017 - 10:40pm
3. Choose a criminal trial in Canadian jurisprudence and examine the offender through a gendered perspective. Did gender or gender issues play a role? How did the offender’s gender shape the nature of the trial and its outcome? How did understandings of gender roles and the offender’s conformity (or unconformity) to these ideals play out in the trial?
In what could be a landmark ruling involving the use of the so-called battered woman syndrome defence, the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments on Thursday about a case involving a Nova Scotia woman who tried to hire a hit man (who turned out to be an undercover RCMP officer) to kill her husband. The woman, who claimed she had no other way out of an abusive relationship, was acquitted of counselling to commit murder. The following are cases where women killed their husbands and argued self-defence.
In this case gender played a huge role, the nature of the situation was that a woman who was abused repeatedly thus she reacted by trying to hire a hit man. The offender’s gender was a key factor in the outcome of this trial. Being a woman had a lot to do with how the judge perceived the case. Women are often perceived as being venerable and are incapable of defending themselves, thus the judicial system feels the need to protect women. The woman in this case was acquitted of murder because she was a victim, and had been abused for a very long time. Her only reaction was to defend herself, and she felt the need to try and kill this person. By killing this person would have gave her closure and made her feel safe. Safety is a key issue in this case, because the victim was repeatedly abused by her husband and did not feel safe.
The offenders gender shaped the nature of the trial and its outcome by allowing the offender to use the battered women’s syndrome to defend herself in this case. Her defence was viable and valid, because she has been repeatedly abused by her husband and was eventually fed
up. She was in danger of losing her life. Therefore, she did what most battered women will do, she fought back. Even though she was not successful at carrying out her plan, the she still had to face the judicial system. Eventually she was not found guilty and was acquitted of all charges.
The offender in this trial clearly conformed to the ideal of being an abused woman who had no other chance to survive her abusive husband’s behaviour but to try and murder him. She was faced with the task of choosing what her attorney and the court labelled as battered women’s syndrome. And she chose that role and conform to it. By conforming to this, she could successfully defend herself in court. This was very influential during trial and she was found as the victim not the perpetrator.