Sexual assault is not an offence that is specifically defined in the Criminal Code. The definition of “assault” in the Criminal Code applies to all forms of assault, so at its core, a sexual assault involves the intentional application of force to another person, without that person’s consent. The assault must be committed in circumstances of a sexual nature, such that the sexual integrity of the complainant is violated.
If you have been charged with sexual assault, it is important to contact a lawyer right away. In this type of case, it is critical for the lawyer to gather information about you and the complainant early on, as well as about the context of the allegations, so that they can properly investigate and prepare your defence. Your memory of events is crucial in these cases and it will only fade over time, so it is essential to meet with a lawyer right away.
Sexual assault cases are especially complicated because of the rules of evidence that apply. In the past, lawyers were able to freely question complainants about their previous sexual history, either with the accused person or other individuals. The law has changed, and in order to ask questions about a complainant’s past sexual history, an accused person must apply to the court for permission to do so.
Often, complainants in sexual assault cases will have spoken to someone other than the police about the allegations, such as a doctor or a counsellor. These records can be very important to a successful defence. However, the Criminal Code states that these records are not to be disclosed to an accused person in a sexual assault case unless the complainant consents. An accused person who wishes for these records to be disclosed must apply to the court and show that the records are likely relevant to the case and that it is in the interests of justice to disclose the records. These are very complex applications which require legal research, writing, and argument.
In addition to sexual assault, the criminal defence lawyers at Brodsky, Amy & Gould have experience defending related charges such as sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, and child pornography offences.
A conviction for sexual assault carries serious consequences, such as a criminal record, a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year, and registration on the National Sex Offender Registry. If you are charged with sexual assault, you need the assistance of experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel. The lawyers at Brodsky, Amy & Gould have experience successfully defending sexual assault cases and related charges, and can help you with your case.