What is sexual assault?

>>>What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any form of sexual conduct that takes place without both parties’ consent, and that results in a violation of the complainant’s sexual integrity. Contrary to widely accepted belief, sexual assault is not limited to nonconsensual intercourse. It also includes non-consensual fondling, touching, or kissing, and in some circumstances, actions that do not really seem sexual in nature. In fact, it is not even necessary for the accused to gain sexual gratification from the act, or for there to be a sexual purpose behind the act for it to be sexual assault.

There are four different kinds of sexual assault: (1) sexual assault, (2) sexual assault with a weapon, (3) sexual assault causing bodily harm, and (4) aggravated sexual assault.

Evidence Needed to Prove Sexual Assault:

To prove that an accused is guilty of sexual assault, the Crown must show evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That there was touching or an assault;
  2. That the contact was of a sexual nature;
  3. That the complainant did not consent to the contact; and
  4. That the accused intended to touch or assault the complainant.

To establish the essential elements of sexual assault, the Crown Prosecutor can rely on evidence like the relationship between the victim and the accused, the events, words, and gestures that led up to the assault, the sobriety of the parties, medical evidence like the injuries or marks sustained by the victim as a result of the offence, and forensic evidence like the presence of the accused’s DNA on the victim or at the scene of the crime.

If you have been charged with sexual assault with a weapon, in addition to these four criteria the Crown will also have to prove that you used a weapon when committing the offence. For this offence, a weapon can be anything that is used to injure the victim or to threaten injury to the victim.

For you to be convicted of sexual assault causing bodily harm, the Crown will have to prove that in addition to the essential elements of assault, that bodily harm also resulted from the assault. While there is no strict definition of bodily harm, generally our courts will find that there has been bodily harm in a case where the resulting injury caused more than fleeting discomfort to the victim. For example, bodily harm can be things like cuts and serious bruises that take several weeks to completely heal.

You will be convicted of aggravated sexual assault if the Crown can prove that while sexually assaulting the victim, you also caused them serious bodily harm. Fundamentally, the difference between sexual assault causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault is the degree of harm done to the victim. For there to be an aggravated assault it is necessary that you wound, maim, disfigure or endanger the life of the victim. Wounding, maiming, and disfiguring will typically be found where you  broke or sprained any of their bones, or if you cut, stabbed or beat them resulting in significant injuries. If you are HIV positive and put the victim at risk for contracting the disease without telling them, the fact that you potentially transmitted a life threatening disease can be enough to convict you of aggravated sexual assault.

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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.