s. 271. (1) Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of
- an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years; or
- an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months
In addition, every person convicted of a sexual assault must register under SOIRA, Sexual Offender Information Registry Act, for a minimum of 10 years in summary conviction cases and 20 years in indictable cases.
Click here for more information on SOIRA.
Needless to say, sexual assault is an extremely serious charge. Not only are the jail sentences potentially significant, but the social stigma attached to this conviction can be devastating.
Contact a Lawyer Immediately:
Should you be contacted by the police regarding any type of sexual assault related allegation, your first move is to contact a lawyer. In any sexual assault investigation part of a police function is to illicit a statement from the person being investigated.
The police can make false statements to encourage the suspect to answer their questions.
- The police may say that they are just at an investigation stage and no decision has been made to lay charges. They may say they just want to hear your side of the story.
- The police may state that they don’t believe the complainant and they just want your version to complete their file.
- Comments like, “we have or we are going to get DNA samples” can be made when there is no truth those statements.
- The police can make any false statement about the existence of fictitious evidence – e.g. We have a cell phone video or a taped message when in fact no such evidence exists.
- The police will often try to play on the guilt complex if a suspect refused to cooperate with them and answer their questions. They will often suggest that “if you have nothing to hide, just tell us your side of the story.”
Failure to “tell your side of the story” or to answer any questions does not imply guilt or that you have anything to hide. Refusing to answer police questions cannot be used against you in a court of law.
Beware, regardless of how the police conduct themselves they have an agenda, they are not your new found best friends.
Note: The comments above are not intended to slam the conduct of the police. They have a job to do and are permitted to do it.
The police may say that they are just at an investigation stage and no decision has been made to lay charges. They may say they just want to hear your side of the story. Regardless, you should consult a lawyer before you talk to anyone.
If you are under investigation with respect to a sexual assault allegation you should consult a lawyer before you talk to anyone.
If you are arrested or detained with respect to a sexual assault allegation you have the absolute right to consult a lawyer immediately. You must exercise this right and speak to a lawyer before talking to anyone.
At Daley, Byers Criminal Lawyers, we offer emergency service on a 24/7 basis. Our toll free number will connect you with one of our lawyers experienced in this area of law.
What is the meaning of “sexual assault”?
Sexual assault is an assault which is committed in circumstances of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. The test to determine if an assault qualifies under this definition is an objective one. (i.e. Would a reasonable observer perceive the assault as having the requisite sexual nature?)
Sexual assault includes many different factual situations from rape or fondling of private parts to a simple touching over clothes as in a “friendly pat on the buttocks”. In fact, Daley, Byers recently successfully defended an accused charged with sexual assault who had allegedly patted an employee on the buttocks.
All of the circumstances of the assault are examined including
a. part of the body touched
b. nature of the contact
c. situation in which it occurred
d. words or gestures accompanying the act
e. threats or force
f. any intent of the person committing the act that can be derived from the circumstances
g. is the motive sexual gratification
There is no limitation period on a sexual assault charge. In fact historical sexual assault charges are quite common place in our courts. These are often more difficult for the Prosecution to prove.
Again, should you be approached regarding any type of sexual assault allegation whether historical or otherwise you should contact a lawyer immediately. Do not discuss the matter with anyone until you have spoken to a lawyer. You can reach Daley, Byers 24/7 at 1-855-529-3501.
DNA evidence is sometimes used by the Crown Attorney to substantiate physical contact between two parties. There are numerous cases where a suspect has stated (not having spoken to a lawyer) that there was no contact whatsoever with the complainant, only to discover later that the prosecution is able to prove contact through DNA evidence. We cannot over-emphasize how important it is that you speak to a lawyer at the earliest possible opportunity.
- It did not happen.
- It did happen but it was not sexual.
- It did happen but the complainant consented….This defence of consent does not apply in all cases. See commentary below on issues relating to consent.
- Mistaken belief as to consent (again this defence has limitations, see commentary below).
- Mistaken belief as to age (this defence has limitations-see below).
The law relating to charges of sexual assault is extremely complicated. The sexual history of the complainant may or may not be relevant at trial. Special motions are often necessary to acquire the necessary disclosure and gain the right to present this evidence. The timing of the complaint, the lack of cooberative evidence, and DNA are just some examples of issues that can arise in these cases. At Daley Byers, our team of experienced lawyers has the knowledge and expertise necessary to conduct a successful defence.
Again, it is impossible to over stress how important that a person facing an investigation or charge in relation to any sexual offence contact a lawyer immediately.
Read about Relevant Sections of the Criminal Code on sexual assault.