What are the best defences to a sexual assault charge?

>>>What are the best defences to a sexual assault charge?

The best defence to a sexual assault charge depends heavily on the circumstances of your case. However, two common defences to an allegation of sexual assault are (1) that the complainant consented to the act in question, or (2) that you held an honest but mistaken belief that the complainant had consented to the act.

Because the Crown Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the complainant did not consent to the act in question, if you can demonstrate that there is reason to believe there may have in fact been consent, you can be acquitted of the charges.

You can also defend your case on the basis that you honestly, but mistakenly, believed that the complainant had consented to the act in question. However, in order to raise this defence, it is necessary that you do something more than just say “I thought that he or she consented”. You will need to put forward enough evidence in support of your claim so that it can be said there is at least an ‘air of reality’ to your honest but mistaken belief. If you cannot provide a foundation to support your claim, you will not succeed with this defence.

In order to raise either consent or honest but mistaken belief as a defence, you must also demonstrate that you took reasonable steps in the circumstances to determine whether the complainant had consented to the act in question. Passivity, silence, equivocal responses, or a failure on the part of the complainant to say no will not amount to consent. Consent must be communicated clearly, and must be present throughout the entire interaction.

However, neither the defence of consent or the defence of honest but mistaken belief can be used if you were reckless or willfully blind as to whether or not there was consent. For example, you will be reckless or willfully blind to the issue of consent if the complainant takes actions suggesting that he or she revoked consent or maybe did not consent, but you ignore the complainant’s actions and continue anyway.

Furthermore, neither of these defences will succeed if you were simply too intoxicated to understand that there was no consent. For the purposes of this offence, your voluntary intoxication cannot serve as a defence for your actions.

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All our 30-60 minute free consultations are conducted with one of our Criminal Defence Lawyers and include the following steps:

  1. Gathering of some personal information about you, such as your level of education, occupation, and citizenship status. This information can be crucial for building your defence and seeking a resolution with the Crown Prosecutor;
  2. Careful review of all documents you received from the police. We will explain what each document is, and what you can expect from and need to do for all upcoming appearances;
  3. Critical review of your recollection of events, and any supporting materials you choose to bring with you. This step helps us identify possible defences and avenues for further investigation; and
  4. Discussion of the court process, our fee structure, and what we can do to help.

Beyond these steps, we would be happy to tell you more about us, and answer any questions you may have. If you chose to retain us to help you, we will immediately provide an overview of what steps we plan to take next, and suggestions as to what you should do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

For the free initial consultation to be as productive as possible, you should bring (or email in advance) the following materials:

  • A written statement (preferably typed) outlining your version of events;
  • All documents that you have been given by the court or by the police;
  • Any disclosure you have received;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Any supporting documents, such as photographs, emails, texts, phone records, medical records, receipts, etc.

Ideally, you will have prepared a copy of these materials for us to keep, but if not, we can always photocopy them during the consultation.

We offer flexible payment options and structures designed to meet our clients’ individual needs. Our lawyers accept all major credit cards, bank drafts, money orders, email money transfers (e-transfers) and, of course, cash.

If you decide to retain us after the free initial consultation, all we need is a retainer (down payment) to get started. The rest of the fee payments for the case can be spaced out over time. We can set you up on a monthly or bi-monthly payment plan, and process payments over the telephone or by email to make it easy for you.

The cost of a criminal defence lawyer will depend on several factors, including:

  1. how complex your case is,
  2. how serious the charges are, and
  3. how experienced the Criminal Defence lawyer is.

The fees of a competent Criminal Defence Lawyer will typically range into the thousands of dollars. The good news is that only a fraction of that amount is due initially. We offer flexible payment schedules so thefees can be paid in monthly installments.

Additionally, we offer flat rate fees, with no hidden costs. It is our standard practice to review all the costs during the free initial consultation. This means you will know exactly what our services cost at the outset and can make an informed decision about how to proceed.