One of the most common defences to an allegation of sexual assault is that the complainant consented to the sexual activity. It must be remembered that you are presumed innocent and the prosecutor must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that in order for there to be a conviction for sexual assault, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no consent.
It can be devastating to be accused of sexual assault when you didn't do it, whether the allegation comes from an acquittance, a stranger or a family member. Although you are presumed innocent and the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, it is often best to approach the case from the perspective of proving your innocence. That means working with your lawyer to both discredit the allegations and demonstrate through witnesses and other evidence why you could not have committed the offence. A number of areas that may prove fruitful at trial include:
Being accused of sexual assault can seem like a nightmare. High profile individuals seem to be tried and convicted in the court of public opinion on an almost daily basis. However, if you are arrested and charged you will still have the benefits of all of the protections that our criminal justice system affords. You are presumed innocent in the eyes of the Court. The prosecutor must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That can only be done after a full trial in which all witnesses called by the prosecutor are cross-examined and the defence has an opportunity to call any witnesses that it wants.
SOIRA, or the Sexual Offender Information Registry Act [LINK #1], came into effect in 2004 and requires accused persons convicted of one of the listed sex-related criminal offences to be registered in a sexual offender database. The judge sentencing the accused has no discretion, they must place the accused on the registry.
On June 6th, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-51 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act with the aim of amend, remove or repeal passages and provisions that have been ruled unconstitutional or that raise risks with regard to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It went further than this, however, and also introduced some new legislation for the prosecution of sexual assault offences in Canada.
As recently as a few months ago, the Attorney General for Ontario was in the news calling for the elimination of preliminary inquiries. The concern from the Attorney General was for court delays and this elimination, he claimed, would help speed up trials in criminal proceedings. Many individuals and organizations have spoken out against this suggestion and have argued the important role that preliminary inquiries have in the criminal justice system, including an article written by Ian Carter of Bayne Sellar Ertel Carter.
If you are being investigated or under suspicion for sexual assault (or any other criminal charge) - read this blog. This article will examine a sexual assault investigation and how you, the suspect can protect your rights and freedoms.
Clients frequently need advice on the possibility of a polygraph examination, particularly during investigations into sexual offences.
Two people meet at a party. The drinks are flowing. They are both buzzing and their inhibitions are lowered. Sex occurs that night but the next morning one of the two says she didn't consent. The police become involved and show up the other person's house to arrest him for sexual assault. He is in disbelief. He thought it was consensual.
Last week Jian Ghomeshi entered a peace bond, at which point the Crown withdrew the remaining charge against him. This brings an end to the legal saga of Jian Ghomeshi's matters. A question that is being asked by a lot of people is what a peace bond is. They are not uncommon as a resolution in cases of assault, specifically in domestic assault situations.