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Ottawa Criminal Law Blog

Choosing a Trial

After you have been arrested you will receive a date to appear in court.  The first thing that will happen is that you will receive a copy of the "disclosure".  This is all of the evidence that the police have gathered against you.  Once you have reviewed all of the disclosure with your lawyer you will then need to decide whether to plead guilty or set a trial date.  In most cases, the trial will take place in provincial court and will be set anywhere from about 8 to 18 months into the future depending on the length of the trial and the complexity of the issues.  However, in some more serious cases, such as a sexual assault, you will be able to choose the court where the trial will take place.  You can choose to have the trial in provincial court, superior court to be tried by judge alone or superior court to be tried by judge and jury.  If the trial in the superior court you will also having the option of a preliminary inquiry which is held in provincial court.  At a preliminary inquiry your lawyer will have the ability to cross-examine some or all of the witnesses to test their evidence in preparation for trial.  Which venue is best in a particular case is dependent on a number of factors and is a topic which should be explored in detail with your lawyer.

I have been charged with assault, what next?

Assault charges can arise out of any number of circumstances, such as an argument with a domestic partner, a dispute with a neighbour, or a fight outside a bar.  The offence of assault is widely defined.  It includes any circumstance where a person, without the consent of the other person, applies force intentionally to that person, directly or indirectly.  It also includes certain situations where no actual force is applied.  An assault occurs when a person attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe upon reasonable grounds, that he has, present ability to effect his purpose.

When is my Child Old Enough to be Charged with a Crime?

On your child's 12 birthday he or she is officially old enough to be charged with a criminal offence. From the age of 12 until they turn 18, any criminal charge they face will be dealt with through the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Youth Reprimands

The Youth Criminal Justice Act allows for a wide range of potential consequences should your child be found guilty of a criminal offence. The vast majority of the available sentences are community based (not jail) to encourage the young person to understand the consequences of their actions, but also to allow them to move forward with their life in a positive way.

Invitation to Sexual Touching Mandatory Minimum Struck Down

In a recent case in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, R. v. Hussein, the accused brought an application to have the mandatory minimum sentence for the offences of invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference and sexual assault of one year in jail struck down as unconstitutional. Section 12 of the Charter of Rights ensures that "Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment."

Aspect of Child Luring Offence Struck Down

The offence of luring a child (section 172.1 of the Criminal Code) punishes those who communicate with a person believed to be under the age of 16 years for the purpose of facilitating a sexual offence, such as sexual interference. The elements of the child luring offence are:

The Laws that Apply to Your Child when Charged with a Crime

If your child is charged with a criminal offence there are a number of laws that may apply to his or her situation. Think of the criminal justice system like a puzzle, with a lot of smaller pieces of law that fit together to make up the bigger picture. The main acts to be considered are: the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Youth Criminal Justice Act. (There are others, like the Canada Evidence Act, that also play a role but less often).

What is Sexual Exploitation?

Although the age of consent in Canada is 16, in some cases you can still be convicted of an offence for engaging in sexual activity with someone over the age of 16 but under the age of 18. If you are in a position of trust or authority towards a young person, or the young person is in a relationship of dependency with you, or exploitative of the young person, you could be convicted of the offence of sexual exploitation.

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Ottawa Criminal Law Blog | Bayne Sellar Ertel Carter