Sexual Assault Lawyer In Toronto
If you’ve read my article on “Assaults and Threats”, you can see that there are several different types of “assaults” including, Assault with a Weapon, Assault Causing Bodily Harm, and Aggravated Assault. These also apply to sexual assaults. Sexual Assaults merits its own category because they are treated differently by the Crown’s office, the Courts, and by the Criminal Code of Canada. There are different procedures and penalties that apply in Sexual Assault cases. If you are charged with Sexual Assault, you should also review, however, my article on “Assaults and Threats”.
What follows is a brief summary of the law. While it is not, and should not be relied upon as legal advice, it may assist you with some of the questions you might have. As always, consult a criminal lawyer should you need criminal advice.
All of the Sexual Assault offences are listed in the Criminal Code of Canada: http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-c-46/latest/rsc-1985-c-c-46.html. For ease of reference, I will discuss some of them below.
What the Crown must prove:
To find someone guilty of sexual assault, the Crown must prove that: (a) the defendant intentionally applied force to the victim (b) the victim did not consent to the force that was applied, (c) that the defendant knew that the victim did not consent to the force that was applied, and (d) the force that was applied took place in circumstances of a sexual nature. The force in question can be direct or indirect (for example, using an object), violent or gentle. To constitute an “assault” though, the force must be applied intentionally (on purpose) against another’s will.
Again, the Crown must prove that the complainant did not consent to the intentional application of force in the circumstances in which it occurred. Consent involves a voluntary agreement where the complainant must know what is going to happen, or what you were going to do and freely decide to let you do it. The consent must be freely given. The Crown has proven the defendant’s knowledge if it proves that the defendant was aware that there was a risk that the victim was not consenting to the force, but went ahead regardless, not caring whether the victim consented or not. Further, knowledge is proven if the Crown proves that the defendant should have inquired whether the victim consented to the force applied, but did not make the inquiry because the defendant did not want to know the truth about the victim’s consent.
To be clear, consent is a state of mind; the complainant’s state of mind at the time in which the alleged sexual activity took place and represents the complainant’s voluntary agreement to take place in the sexual activity in question. There is no “consent” when the complainant was too intoxicated or suffering from any other mental state such that the complainant was unable to understand the sexual nature of the conduct nor where the complainant was induced to participate in the sexual activity if the defendant abused a position of authority, trust, or power. Further, consent can be revoked at any time.
There are numerous ways to defend against all Sexual Assault related charges and I have successfully defended people against them numerous times – please refer to my Recent Successes page. The consequences to receiving a conviction for any sexual assault charge are significant (including jail time and being placed on a Sexual Offender Registry) and you should consult with a criminal lawyer to discuss these and other issues.
Again, the foregoing is only a summary. It is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For a free consultation to discuss your case, please call me at 416-658-5855.