In domestic assault occurrences the accused will be charged with assault, as there is no offence specific to domestic assaults in the Criminal Code.
- The Criminal Code does not have a specific domestic assault offence. Domestic assault is when any of the various types of assaults within the Criminal Code occur in the context of a domestic relationship.
- The legal definition of a domestic relationship is quite broad. A domestic relationship is when two people (either opposite or same sex) are in an intimate relationship whether as boyfriend/girlfriend, spouses, common law partners, children and parents, or children and legal guardian.
What are some of the criminal offences that can arise in the context of a domestic relationship?
Section 265 (1) A person commits an assault when
(a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
(b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or
(c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.
Section 267 Every one who, in committing an assault,
(a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof,
- Assault causing bodily harm
Section 267 Every one who in committing an assault
(b) causes bodily harm to the complainant.
Section 268 (1) Every one commits an aggravated assault who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.
Section 264.1 (1) Every one commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys or causes any person to receive a threat
(a) to cause death or bodily harm to any person;
(b) to burn, destroy or damage real or personal property; or
(c) to kill, poison or injure an animal or bird that is the property of any person.
Section 264 (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.
(2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of
(a) repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them;
(b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them;
(c) besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or
(d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.
- Once a domestic assault charge has been laid, only the Crown Attorney’s Office can request that the charge be withdrawn. The charge cannot be withdrawn at the complainant’s request.
- This means that once a call to the police is made and a domestic assault charge has been laid, the complainant completely loses control over the proceedings and the police and the Crown Attorney’s Office take over.
- The policy of the Crown in Ontario, as highlighted in the Crown policy Manual, advises crown counsel to exercise caution when dealing with requests from the complainant to withdraw charges as they may “be under intolerable pressure to withdraw.”
- Crown Attorneys in domestic assault cases are usually knowledgeable in such criminal charges, as they are typically specialized Crowns assigned to domestic assault cases only.
- This is because criminal charges that arise in a domestic situation are considered more serious than those that arose outside domestic situations.
- Furthermore, the Crown Policy Manual mandates that these cases should be prosecuted vigorously and scheduling and assigning domestic violence cases should be given priority in scheduling.
- If you have been charged with a domestic assault charge, it is in your best interests to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer. If you are convicted of the offence, you may be imprisoned, face fines, probation, counselling and a criminal record. Please contact Toronto Defence Lawyers, Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers for advice!