Christopher Hoare is charged with the attempt murder of his wife. He admits hitting her with a baseball bat but claims he did not try to kill her. He tried to enter a plea of guilt to assault with a weapon this week but the Crown refused to accept it. According to the Ottawa Citizen, that means the trial on attempted murder and aggravated assault charges is proceeding.
In domestic violence cases, a spouse can be charged with different types of assault offences.
The least serious is simple assault. The Crown must prove that the spouse applied force, directly or indirectly, without the consent of the other person. In same cases, the force is so minor that it may not be enough to make out a criminal charge. In other cases, there may be implied consent due to the nature of the relationship.
More serious charges include assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.
Anyone who, in committing an assault, carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation weapon is guilty of the offence of assault with a weapon. A weapon can be almost anything, from a shoe to a bag of chips. Assault causing bodily harm occurs whenever there is an assault which lead to an injury that is more than “transient or trifling” in nature.
Aggravated assault is a much more serious form of assault. Anyone commits an aggravated assault who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant. This charge is typically laid when the injuries are more significant.
Finally, a spouse may be charged with attempt murder, like Mr. Hoare. The Crown must prove that the person had a specific intent to kill, as oppose to just seriously injure. This is a more difficult charge to prove but if a person is convicted the likely consequence is a lengthy jail sentence.