It stated that an imminent “regulatory void” will permit prostitutes, bodyguards, drivers and booking agents to openly go about their business.
“If the stay is not extended, the public interest, communities and neighborhoods and the proper administration of justice will suffer irreparable harm,” said the Department of Justice application.
“It does so without affording any opportunity for the various levels of government to legislate in response to address the consequences the prevent any resulting harms,” added Crown counsel Michael Morris.
However, a lawyer for the three sex workers who succeeded in striking down some of the prostitution provisions accused the government of sitting on its hands since the Ontario decision was rendered on March 28.
Lawyer Alan Young said that the government’s “11th-hour request” has made it virtually impossible for his clients to provide a meaningful response, cross-examine Crown experts or provide evidence.
“It is submitted that this late request also puts this Honorable Court in the difficult position of making a decision, even a temporary one, on the basis of a fragmented and potentially misleading record,” said Prof. Young, who teaches law at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School.
Besides rewriting the pimping law, the Ontario court struck down a provision that prohibits brothels. It said that the two laws combine to create grave dangers for prostitutes, since they cannot congregate together in the safety of a brothel or hire staff to protect them from dangerous clients.
The court imposed a one-year delay before its brothel ruling comes into effect in order for governments and municipalities to prepare for legal brothels.
Prof. Young emphasized that any delays in executing the Ontario Court of Appeal decision add to the dangers that the court found prostitutes face.
He said the court ruling left police ample ability to act against violent or exploitive pimps. It also noted that police have other investigative tools to prevent human smuggling or the exploitation of underage prostitutes.
In application seeking leave to appeal, Morris said the decision represents “a fundamental shift in criminal law and social policy,” necessitating the Supreme Court making a final decision.
It said that the litigation goes to the heart of Parliament’s ability to create and enforce laws dealing with complex social problems.
It said that the prostitution laws will be applied inconsistently from one province to another – a situation that cannot be allowed to develop.
“It also has a direct impact on both police investigations and prosecutions in Ontario, and an indirect impact upon these outside Ontario, since the judgment may create uncertainty in the validity of these provisions outside Ontario,” said the federal brief.
Intellpuke: You can read this article by Globe and Mail Justice Reporter Kirk Makin, reporting from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in context here: www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harper-government-appeals-ontario-prostitution-ruling/article2413984/