The recent acquittal of Jian Ghomesi on a number of sexual assault counts against multiple complainants has sparked headlines around the country. The fallout of the acquittals has left many expressing disappointment with the justice system, and expressing anger over victim rights. While the trial gained national notoriety due to the accused being such a well-known celebrity, the truth is that the allegations and the defence's tactics are ones seen in the Ontario Court of Justice on a daily basis.
Losing a case is a tough pill to swallow. The initial reaction of most people is to want to appeal the decision right away. Before heading down that path, however, it is important to know what you are getting into. Here is an overview of the most important issues that you need to be aware of.
The Harper government is continuing its tough on crime stance with a move to put more individuals convicted of murder behind bars with no chance of parole. The government is introducing legislation that would mean life with no chance of parole for "especially brutal" first-degree murders, those who kill police or prison guards and those who kill during a sex assault, kidnapping or an act of terrorism. Prisoners could petition cabinet for release after 35 years. Under current law, a life term is automatic for murder, with the first chance at full parole for first-degree murder after 25 years.
A bill before the House, entitled the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, will, if passed, change the repercussions for people convicted of sexual assault. While there currently exists a sex offender registry is kept confidential with police and the Ministry having the only access. This bill will establish a new database, the High Risk Child Sex Offender Database, which will be made available to the public.