[1999] 3 SCR 759

In [1999] 3 SCR 759 the Supreme Court of Canada held that manipulating an individual for sexual favours can constitute criminal extortion.

The Court stated, “[f]reedom of choice in sexual matters is at least as highly valued as freedom of choice in matters concerning property.  Accordingly, there is no reason to think that extortion of sexual favours is not also a criminal offence.”[1] Although the case involved the distribution of intimate images, the Supreme Court did not address whether sex carried out under threat of intimate image disclosure can be considered consensual.

Mr. D pretended to be a photographer and offered to help women and girls develop modelling portfolios. He took nude and semi-nude photos of victims aged 15-20, and later threatened to release the photos if the victims did not have sex with him. In one instance, the defendant told a 19-year-old woman that he would distribute her nude photos unless she paid him money. When she could not pay, he offered to give the photos back in exchange for sexual favours. He threatened to publish the photos in a pornographic magazine and send them to the young woman’s father if she did not comply with his demands. One of the women had sex with Mr. D over a period of months in exchange for strips of the negatives of the photographs he had taken of her.

The defendant’s convictions on two counts of extortion and five counts of sexual assault were ultimately upheld, and the appeal was dismissed.

[1] [1999] 3 SCR 759, at para 46.

Criminal Offence(s): Extortion, Sexual Assault