Have you been charged with a crime? Don’t let a criminal record ruin your life. Call Toronto Defence Lawyers today to get an experience lawyer to fight for your rights.
Sexual Assault Lawyer | Toronto Defence Lawyers, Toronto, ON

Sexual Assault Charges

Sexual assault is a serious accusation and because of this, it is important to be represented by an experienced criminal lawyer if you intend to fight the allegations.

At the law firm of Pyzer Criminal Lawyers, we have over 35 years experience defending sexual assault allegation with a strong record of success.

Our office will help you pursue every viable defence against sexual assault allegations to the furthest extent possible.
If you are facing sexual assault charges contact Pyzer Criminal Lawyers for aggressive and effective representation!

What is Sexual Assault?

In Canada, sexual assault has a broad definition and any non consensual unwanted sexual touching is considered a sexual assault.
More often, in sexual assault cases, the critical legal issue is “consent”.

Did the complainant consent to the nature and quality of the sexual act?

Charged with Sexual Assault?.

Book a FREE Consultation

or CALL: (416) 658-1818

The crime of “sexual assault” involves any non-consensual touching of a “sexual” organ, and includes conduct from the touching of the breasts over the clothing to more serious criminal acts like rape..

Any sexual activity, including the following actions, in a context in which they are unwanted would be a sexual assault according to Criminal Code:

  • sexual touching or grabbing
  • kissing
  • fondling
  • sex

According to s.271 of the Criminal Code, everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of:

-> an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or.

-> an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months.

-> An individual charged with sexual assault could be accused of additional sexual crimes as well depending on the circumstances.

Additional Criminal Offence Charges that can be laid in the context of sexual assault allegations:

  • sexual interference
  • invitation to sexual touching
  • sexual exploitation
  • incest
  • bestiality
  • child pornography criminal offences
  • indecent exposure.

 

Effective Defences Against Sexual Assault Allegations:

At Pyzer Criminal Lawyers our criminal defence lawyers approach each case with experience and expertise to construct a defence tailored to effectively defend the specific sexual assault allegations.

We understand that, while intoxication is not a viable defence against sexual assault allegations, the lines of sexual consent are sometimes blurred, especially when the participants have consumed alcohol or drugs.

Sexual acts, whether consensual or otherwise, often occur in private, and without independent witnesses.

If the defence can demonstrate that the accused had a reasonable but mistaken belief that the activity in question was consented to by the accuser, the accused is not criminally culpable for the offence of sexual assault.

False sexual assault allegations

 

 

This defence is referred to as a “reasonable but mistaken belief in consent”.

Another potential defence is the identity of the accused. Where the issue is identity, a lack of forensic evidence in the form of DNA (from seminal fluids) may raise a reasonable doubt as to the identity of the perpetrator

Seminal fluids or other DNA, sometimes disclosed to the court as evidence in the complaints medical records, can be used to attempt to establish the identity of the accused.

It is possible for the defence to overcome DNA evidence at a sexual assault trial, with the defence prevailing.

Charged with Sexual Assault?
.

Book a FREE Consultation

or CALL: (416) 658-1818

Pyzer Criminal Lawyers has successfully employed these and countless other defences against allegations of sexual assault, resulting in the dismissal or acquittal of the charges.

Sexual assault is a serious accusation. It is important to be represented by an experienced criminal defence lawyer if you intend to fight it.

Know your rights! If you are facing criminal offence charges contact Pyzer Criminal Lawyers for your free consultation today!

The Sexual Assault Trials in Ontario:

It is the policy of the Crown Attorney’s Office to not settle sexual assault allegations by way of a peace bond, as is often done in domestic assault cases.

Convictions of sexual assault typically mean a jail sentence for the accused. Videotaping your sex partner without her knowledge is considered a crime as well.

As such, many accusations of sexual assault end up being litigated at trial.

If the accuser chooses to report the allegations of sexual assault to the police charges, the accused may be forced to take the stand and testify at trial.

Should the accused have to testify, it is very important that the accused be advised by an experienced sexual assault lawyer about what to expect and how to best conduct themselves during cross-examination.

Generally, prosecutors are reluctant to force accusers to testify against their will, however they do have the power to force an accused person’s testimony and will do so if they feel it is necessary.

An allegation of sexual assault can be used as a weapon to exclude a spouse from the home, or to gain an advantage in child custody proceedings.

Where the allegation is she said – he said, a judge must consider the evidence of the parties, and decide if they are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.

At Pyzer Criminal Lawyers, if we cannot successfully negotiate the allegations away, we bring skilled advocacy to challenge the evidence of the accuser and prepare our clients for their day in court.

Section 276 Applications

Section 276 of the Criminal Code applications deal with the intersection of the rights of the accused and the rights of the complainant in sexual assault cases.

Winning a section 276 can be the key to the successful defence against sexual assault allegations.

A criminal defence lawyer defending allegations of sexual assault is automatically restricted in the questions they can ask a complainant during cross examination.

S.276 limits the scope of questioning and restricts the defence from adducing evidence that the complainant has engaged in sexual activity, whether with the accused or with any other person.

Such evidence is not admissible to support an inference that, by reason of the sexual nature of that activity, the complainant is more likely to have consented to the activity in question or is not telling the truth.

Sex Assault is a serious crime

 

These restrictions can be detrimental to the defence of accused facing allegations of sexual assault.

It is in the best interest of the accused to overcome these restrictions during cross examination.

In order to do so, the criminal defence lawyer must make a s.276 application to the court on behalf of the accused.
A s.276 is a critical juncture in successfully defending allegations of sexual assault.

With a s. 276 application, the accused makes an application to the Court to be allowed such lines of questioning.

A s. 276 application is like a mini trial, with the defence arguing for the admissibility of evidence with respect to the other sexual activity of the complainant and the Crown arguing against its admission.

The defence argues that the restricted evidence they intend to adduce with respect to whether the complainant has engaged in sexual activity, whether with the accused or with any other person, is of great probative value and should be deemed admissible.

The Crown argues that such evidence should be restricted.

Ultimately, the judge makes the determination after hearing submissions from the Crown and defence as to what evidence should be allowed.

Section 276 of the Criminal Code states:

276. (1) In proceedings in respect of an offence under section 151, 152, 153, 155 or 159, subsection 160(2) or (3) or section 170, 171, 172, 173, 271, 272 or 273, evidence that the complainant has engaged in sexual activity, whether with the accused or with any other person, is not admissible to support an inference that, by reason of the sexual nature of that activity, the complainant

(a) is more likely to have consented to the sexual activity that forms the subject-matter of the charge; or
(b) is less worthy of belief.
(c) In proceedings in respect of an offence referred to in subsection

(a) is more likely to have consented to the sexual activity that forms the subject-matter of the charge; or
(b) is less worthy of belief.
(2) In proceedings in respect of an offence referred to in subsection

(1), no evidence shall be adduced by or on behalf of the accused that the complainant has engaged in sexual activity other than the sexual activity that forms the subject-matter of the charge, whether with the accused or with any other person, unless the judge, provincial court judge or justice determines, in accordance with the procedures set out in sections 276.1 and 276.2, that the evidence

( 2) is of specific instances of sexual activity; (b) is relevant to an issue at trial; and (c) has significant probative value that is not substantially outweighed by the danger of prejudice to the proper administration of justice.

The judge or justice hearing the section 276 application makes there decision while weighing the following competing rights and interests of the accused and the complainant:

(3) In determining whether evidence is admissible under subsection (2), the judge, provincial court judge or justice shall take into account

  • the interests of justice, including the right of the accused to make a full answer and defence;
  • society’s interest in encouraging the reporting of sexual assault offences;
  • whether there is a reasonable prospect that the evidence will assist in arriving at a just determination in the case;
  • the need to remove from the fact-finding process any discriminatory belief or bias;
  • the risk that the evidence may unduly arouse sentiments of prejudice, sympathy or hostility in the jury;
  • the potential prejudice to the complainant’s personal dignity and right of privacy;
  • the right of the complainant and of every individual to personal security and to the full protection and benefit of the law; and
  • any other factor that the judge, provincial court judge or justice
  • considers relevant.

 

Pyzer Criminal Lawyers’ Record of Successfully Defending Sexual Assault Allegations:

While Pyzer Criminal Lawyers has successfully defended numerous cases of sexual assault allegations across Ontario over the past 35 years the following two cases best demonstrate our aggressive and effective defence strategy and the services we provide at trial.

R. v. Fast: our office successfully represented the defendant in the case of R. v. Fast.

It was alleged that Mr. Fast walked by a female pedestrian in downtown Toronto one night, and grabbed her in the groin area. A second independent witness also observed the act.

Police were called. Approximately 20 minutes later, Mr. Fast was found approximately one kilometre away.

He matched the description provided by the complainant as to the perpetrator’s age, dress and ethnicity.

The complainant identified Mr. Fast at his trial as the perpetrator. At his trial the defence successfully raised a reasonable doubt as to identity, arguing that the police had failed to follow standard photo-lineup procedures and pointed to inconsistencies between the evidence of the complainant and the other independent eyewitness.

Furthermore, the defence established that the specific location where the sexual assault occurred was poorly illuminated, and the complainant was distracted immediately prior to being assaulted.

R. v. Mr. B: Pyzer Criminal Lawyers successfully defended its client Mr. B on an allegation of sexual assault.

The complainant testified that she did not consent to the sexual acts of kissing and touching over the pants in the groin area.
The defendant testified that the complainant was an active participant in the kissing and had effectively invited the touching by her behaviour.

He testified that when the Complainant resisted, he discontinued his attempts at more sexual activity, and resumed kissing her.
The defence successfully brought application for the complainant’s counselling records.

At trial, His Honour Judge Gage acquitted Mr. B, unimpressed with the complainant’s version of events.

His Honour commented adversely on the complainant’s failure to preserve text message evidence, and her omission of critical facts in her initial report to the police.

How is Consent Defined in The Criminal Code of Canada?

The Criminal Code defines consent in section 273.1(1), as the voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.

The law takes into account what the individual was thinking and feeling at the time of the sexual activity.

Any form of sexual touching is only lawful if an individual, either through words or conduct, affirmatively communicates their consent.
Under the Criminal Code a person’s silence or passivity does not equal their consent.

A common issue in sexual assault cases is whether or not the sexual activity was consensual.

If you can satisfy the court that the complainant actually consented to the sexual act, you will not be found guilty of sexual assault. However, the defence of consent becomes messy when alcohol becomes involved.

There are several situations in which the court deems that the complainants consent “doesn’t count”, one of them including the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity due to intoxication. In order to determine if consent was given, the Court will look at the parties’ words, conduct, and if reasonable steps were taken.

The Court will not accept an accuser’s silence or passivity as a form of consent – implied consent is not a defence to sexual assault. If it is found that that the accused continued sexual conduct after the accuser indicated “no” through words or conduct, they can be convicted of sexual assault.

According to s.273 of the Criminal Code, the accused must show that under the circumstances, they reasonable steps in order to ascertain the accuser’s consent.

Just taking “some reasonable steps” alone will not prove consent, but if it turns out that consent was not given, it provides the defence with some credibility.

The defence will come under question if the Court feels the accused was reckless, willfully blind, or willfully intoxicated while taking reasonable steps to attain consent.

According to s.273.2 (a), the Court will not allow consent to be used an excuse for not recognizing that a person did not consent if the accused was reckless, willfully blind or willfully intoxicated.

Charged? Consult an Experienced Sexual Assault Lawyer.

Book a FREE Consultation

or CALL: (416) 658-1818

The Criminal Code States That Consent is Vitiated When:

  • an individual by action or words communicates that they are not consenting to an activity;
  • an individual by words or action communicates that they do not consent to the continuation of an activity that has already commenced;
  • an individual is incapable of consenting to the sexual activity because they are unconscious, too intoxicated or of some other mentally diminished capacity;
  • the consent is a result of an individual abusing a position of trust, power or authority;
  • an individual cannot consent for someone else.

An Individual Cannot Say That They Believed The Complainant Was Consenting if:

  • that belief of consent was based on their own intoxication;
  • they were reckless about whether the individual is consenting;
  • they choose to ignore things that would communicate to them that there was a lack of consent;
  • they failed to take necessary steps to ensure that there was consent.

 

Who is Responsible For Ensuring That There is Consent?

It is the individual who is initiating or pursuing the sexual activity who is responsible to ensure that the sexual activity is consensual.

If an individual states or demonstrates that they do not consent to sexual activity, the other individual cannot rely on the passage of time or the fact that the individual did not again state or demonstrate that they did not consent, to assume that consent now exists

An individual cannot legally consent to sexual activity in advance of the sexual activity when they will be unconscious.

An individual cannot legally consent to an activity that will cause them to suffer bodily harm, such as an activity that will cause serious bruises, stitches or broken bones.

What is the Legal Age of Consent in Canada?

The legal age of sexual consent in Canada is sixteen.

The law includes a “close-in-age exception,” meaning fourteen and fifteen year-olds can have sex with someone who is less than five years older.

Should an adult engage in sexual activity with a minor sixteen years old or younger they can be charged with criminal offences.

What is SOIRA?

Since 2004, the Canadian Courts have required those found guilty of certain sex-related criminal offences be registered in a sexual offender database.

The National Sexual Offender Information Registry (SOIRA) is a national database that contains the identity, location and other information of those found guilty of certain sex-related criminal offences in Canada.

SOIRA requires those found guilty of certain sex-related criminal offences in Canada to provide personal information and to report to police on a yearly bases so that they can be closely monitored.

What Information is Collected by The Police From Those on The Sexual Offender Registry?

The police collect information from those on the Sexual Offender Registry including their:

  • date of birth
  • current telephone number and address
  • current photograph
  • height, weight and identifying marks
  • vehicle information
  • place of employment
  • place of education
  • sex offence(s) for which the offender has been convicted.

 

Information is gathered from people placed on the Sexual Offender Registry within seven days following their release from custody, or if they are not serving a custodial sentence, then upon their release back into the community.

They are required to re-register on a yearly bases.

They must inform the police of any change address or legal name, travel plans within Canada exceeding one week.

They will be required to report for a period of ten years, twenty years or for life depending on their conviction.
Once on the Sex Offender Registry, an individual’s information will remain forever, even once the term of reporting has expired.

Is The Sex Offender Registry Public?

No, the general public cannot access the information on the Sex Offender Registry.

The database is private but is accessible to all police agencies within Canada for the purpose of investigating crimes.

Is it Possible to Avoid an Order to Register on The Sex Offender Registry?

It is mandatory that a Judge must order a person convicted of the designated offences to comply with the registration provisions of SOIRA.

If the accused person receives an absolute discharge or conditional discharge for a designated offence they will not be ordered to register.
Young offenders are not subject to the Sex Offender Registry unless, unless they are sentenced as an adult.

It is possible for someone to apply for termination of their registration order, for the Sex Offender Registry.

The Consequences of a Sexual Assault Conviction:

Sexual assault is a serious crime in Canada and being accused of sexual assault can damage your reputation.

The consequences of a conviction of sexual assault may be devastating to an individual’s future, seriously limiting an the convicted individuals future educational, volunteer, travel, business and work opportunities.

A person convicted of sexual assault will typically receive a criminal record and may lose their liberty and privacy.

At Pyzer Criminal Lawyers we can help you defend the allegations you are facing on your own terms to regain a sense of control and justice throughout the process.

One of our sexual assault lawyer can help you throughout the ordeal of being charged with sexual assault, from appearing at your bail hearing right through to trial we can guide your through the process.

If you are facing criminal charges for sex-related criminal offences, please contact Toronto Defence Lawyers, for your free consultation with one of our sexual assault lawyers!

 

Book a FREE Consultation

or CALL: (416) 658-1818

 

 

 

If you are charged with a crime in the GTA, Contact Pyzer Criminal Lawyers

Top