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Sexual Assault: Mistaken Belief in Consent

Sexual assault is a criminal offence under s. 271 of the Criminal Code. Sexual assault is defined as any form of sexual contact without the consent of both parties. This includes not only intercourse itself, but unwanted touching or fondling as well. A potential defence to sexual assault is that the accused had a “mistaken belief in consent.” This defence arises in situations where the accused legitimately and reasonably believed that the complainant was consenting at the time of the alleged assault. When will the ‘Mistaken Belief’ defence be used? First, the defence lawyer must consider the subjective mental state of the accused at the time that the alleged offence was committed. The lawyer must ascertain the information known to the accused, and consider not only what the accused actually knew at the time of the sexual act, but what they ought to have known. In general, if a defendant…

9 Feb 2015

Is It A Crime To Record a Conversation?

9 Dec 2014

It is not a crime and legal in Canada to record a conversation as long as at least one party consents to the recording. It is legal to record a…

Can A Domestic Assault Charge Be Dropped?

11 Nov 2014

Yes, it is possible to have domestic assault charges dropped. However, the complainant or victim are not in control of this process. The power to withdraw criminal charges is held…

Is it a Crime not to Report a Crime?

19 Aug 2014

It is not a criminal offence in Canada not to report a crime. The Criminal Code of Canada does not contain the offence of not reporting a crime. Even if…

Is It A Crime To Practice Witchcraft?

5 Aug 2014

It is a crime to practice witchcraft in Canada with the intent to deceive another by pretending to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration.…

What Is A Reasonable Prospect of Conviction?

16 Jul 2014

In the case of Proulx v. Québec [2001], the Supreme Court of Canada discussed the concept of a reasonable prospect of conviction and said the following: “To say that a…

Is It A Crime to Miss Your Court Date?

14 Jul 2014

Missing a court date can result in further criminal charges being laid against an accused person. Failure to appear in court as required is a violation of the law which…