Charged with Sexual Assault...Now What?
With the uprise of the #metoo movement and an increase in allegations of sexual assault consistently spotlighted in the media, it is important to discuss what the legal definition of sexual assault means within the context of the Canadian legal landscape.
What does it really mean?
In Canada, sexual assault is defined as unwanted sexual activity. This can include sexual grabbing, kissing, touching, fondling and of course rape. Therefore, any sort of sexual activity or behaviour done without consent can be classified as sexual assault.
We as your counsel understand that any allegation of sexual assault can be humiliating and stressful. At Sarah Leamon Law Group, we will assist you through the entire investigation and, if you are charged, ensure that you are adequately represented by competent and skilled counsel through to the end of your case. Your confidentiality and safety is our number one concern.
What Happens After the Arrest?
Following the initial arrest, it will be up to the Crown to lay and swear the charges based on the evidence that has been submitted by the arresting police officer. If there is insufficient evidence, Crown may drop the charges. However, if the Crown does proceed, you will be required to attend court.
At Sarah Leamon Law Group, we will attend court on your behalf for your first appearance. We will also attend all nominal court appearances on your behalf so that you can carry on with your life. We will notify you when and if you need to attend court.
While we are attending course, we will also engage in communication with Crown counsel and work towards resolving your case.
What Does “Consent” Really Mean?
In most cases, the underling factor in a sexual assault case is whether or not consent was obtained.
The Criminal Code has made it clear that consent must be present at the time that the sexual activity takes place. Consent must be voluntary, free of coercion and of course, consent must be obtained in relation to the sexual activity that is taking place at that time. If consent is withdrawn at any point, the parties must once again, obtain valid consent.
Consent is - by itself - a complicated issue.
It often gets even more complicated depending on the presence of factors such as drugs and alcohol. The issue often circles back to whether or not the accused had a reasonable belief that the complainant was consenting. If the judge can be convinced that the accused had a reasonable belief in consent, then the judge may acquit the accused. This comes down to compelling witness statements, and ultimately, which party has the more credible testimony.
Nevertheless, the ultimate decision is based on the entirety of the circumstances and it is not limited to any single factor.
How Can You Help?
At Sarah Leamon Law Group we take the time to thoroughly speak with each of our clients and undertake our own thorough investigation of the facts. We take time to consider the evidence and to figure out any and all possible defences available to you.
Our experienced criminal lawyers take the time to evaluate your case and resolve it in a manner that is best suited to your circumstances. We do not use a cookie-cutter model. It is our first and foremost concern that your voice is heard and adequately represented throughout your entire legal proceedings.
If you have been charged with sexual assault call us today to speak to us about your options. We are available 24/7. Call us today at 604-900-9211.