Sexual assault is a broadly defined offence. It includes everything from a tap on the bum to a full out rape. If you have been charged with sexual assault you need to retain a lawyer to defend you from this offence since a lot is at stake. You risk going to jail for more serious offences, but even for less serious forms of sexual assault you risk being placed on a sex offender’s registry and receiving a criminal record.
Sex assault lawyers in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal or any other large city know that these prosecutions are common and can assist you with finding a way to defend yourself from a sexual assault charge.
Many people think of the rapist hiding in the bushes until he sexually assaults a stranger. This scenario is (fortunately) quite uncommon. More often than not sexual assault complaints are initiated by people who know the accused. Sometimes there are obvious motives to lie (i.e. during a divorce where gaining an advantage over custody is important so a conveniently made sex assault complaint can be leverage). Often though, the motives are not so clear.
Consensual sex can sometimes be regretted after the fact and sometimes people convince themselves that they were not actually willing participants at the time. Make no mistake though, if a person goes to police and says they did not consent, the police are not required to conclusively determine whether or not this claim is believable. You will be charged and you will need a lawyer who specializes in sexual assault or at least predominates their practice with it (the word “specialize” tends to mean certified specialist in Ontario and there is no specialty in sexual assault – but that’s what people often ask for).
David Anber is an experienced criminal lawyer with a successful track record defending sexual assault cases in Ontario and Quebec (member of Quebec bar as a CLA). Mr. Anber has won jury trials involving sexual assault and trials in front of a judge alone in both the Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice and in Quebec in the Court of Quebec.
There are numerous defences in a sexual assault case in Canada. For example:
- If the complainant consented, the accused should not be found guilty;
- If the accused honestly believed the complainant was consenting, they should be found not guilty;
- If the accused did not know the complainant was not consenting, no finding of guilt should be entered;
- If the event did not happen that is also a defence.
Keep in mind that an accused person never needs to prove his innocence; the prosecutor (Crown) needs to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Lastly, one of the most frequent cases involves drunk sex complaints of sexual assault. There are specific rules in this area which are important to know.