Sexual Assault Offences
Sexual assault is a very broadly defined offence that can include anything from rape to unwanted, unsolicited or uninvited touching of a sexual nature such as the proverbial stolen kiss or grabbing a person’s breasts, genitals or buttocks.
Sexual assault allegations are serious. If convicted, not only will a person have to deal with the lifelong stigmatization. Those convicted of certain sexual offences will also be required by law to register with the local sexual offender registry, which forms part of a national registry. In order to effectively represent the accused, defence lawyers must make strategic and tactical decisions about how to best argue the defence. Often, counsel for the accused retain private investigators and scientific experts for DNA analysis in order to discover weaknesses in the Crown’s case.
The criminal defence lawyers at LZZ have extensive experience successfully defending against all types of sexual assault allegations. If you or someone you know has been charged with sexual assault you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately to help determine the best defence. Call us at (416) 613-0416 or (416) 595-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Common Questions Regarding Sexual Assault Offences
What is considered Sexual Assault?
Unwanted contact that is of a sexual nature. This can take many forms such as unwanted touching or grab, an unwanted kiss, or penetrative sexual activity.
Are the majority of sexual assaults committed by strangers?
No. Many sexual assaults occur in the domestic context, either between partners or friends.
Will I go to jail for Sexual Assault?
Every case is different. The question should be “can you go to jail for Sexual Assault”, and the answer is yes. The biggest factor will be the nature of the alleged offence.
What is the minimum sentence for Sexual Assault in Canada?
If Crown proceeds by indictment and complainant is under the age of 16, the minimum sentence is 1 year.
If Crown proceeds summarily and complainant is under the age of 16, the minimum sentence is 6 months.
How can I be charged with Sexual Assault if the victim consented?
Consent can be vitiated by fraud. For example, if someone has HIV and does not advise his partner, her consent is seen as uninformed and thereby vitiated. She did not consent to sexual contact knowing that he had HIV.
How often do Sexual Assault cases go to trial?
Almost all the time because conviction of sexual assault automatically results in being named to the Sex Offender Registry for a minimum of 10 years. Crown counsel are also less willing to withdraw a sexual assault allegation, which means you end up setting trial dates.
What is reverse disclosure in Sexual Assault cases?
This is known as a 276/278 application. An accused has to now bring an application to have admitted any records in their possession that pertain to the complainant. An accused also needs to bring an application to have admitted any evidence they have which relates to a complainant’s sexual activity and history. This includes your own previous sexual history with the complainant.
How many hours are involved in a Sexual Assault case?
Each case will depend on a number of factors such as the amount of disclosure, the client’s mode of election (preliminary hearing or trial), the number of pre-trial motions involved, will the client testify in his defence? These are all important factors which will increase the amount of time needed to properly defend your interests.
How can I protect my personal information from the media in a Sexual Assault case?
You cannot really. The complainant’s identity will be protected. But there are little protections provided for an accused. Publication bans can be requested at bail hearings and preliminary hearings, the idea being that no evidence should be publicized that could impact upon a potential juror member.
What is the law of consent in Sexual Assault?
Sexual activity is only legal when both parties consent. But consent is complicated. An accused must show that they took steps to obtain consent, and that the consent was clearly communicated (rather than implied).
How many years after you’ve been sexually assaulted can you turn the person in to the police?
Anytime. There is no limitation period on reporting sexual violence.
If I report that I have been sexually assaulted what will happen?
The police will investigate, which will involve being called into the station for an interview. If the police believe they have sufficient evidence that a criminal was committed, they will arrest the individual and lay charges.
Do I have any choices about what the police will do?
No. Once the police take over, the investigation and what happens next are out of the complainant’s hands. The police or a Victim Support Worker will be in touch with updates and to obtain any feedback on potential resolution.