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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

What Shows up in Criminal Record Searches?

22 Jan 2015

Many clients charged with criminal offences express concern that they don’t want a criminal record, and rightfully so. A criminal record can affect one’s ability to travel or to obtain…

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…

What is a Peace Bond?

24 Nov 2014

In various circumstances, an individual charged with a criminal offence (Domestic Assault or otherwise) may be offered a Peace Bond as a mechanism to resolve their criminal charges. A Peace…

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…

Jian Ghomeshi: Rough Sex, Sexual Assault and...

15 Oct 2014

Is Jian Ghomeshi innocent? In the media frenzy surrounding the allegations against Jian Ghomeshi, it is important to keep an open mind in spite of the number of women who…

Is it a Crime to Injure or Kill a Dog or Cat?

1 Oct 2014

Yes. It is a crime in Canada to injure or kill a cat or dog. It is also a crime to endanger a cat or dog, cause unnecessary suffering to…