Sexual assault | Toronto Criminal Lawyers
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Sexual Assault Charges

s. 271. (1) Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of

  1. an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years or, if the complainantis under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or 
  2. an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six 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.

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.


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, it is part of the Police’s function  to illicit a statement from the person being investigated.

The police can make false statements to encourage the suspect to answer their questions.

  1. 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.
  2. The police may state that they don’t believe the complainant and they just want your version to complete their file.
  3. Comments like, “we have or we are going to get DNA samples” can be made when there is no truth those statements.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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 corroborative 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.

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.

Consequences of Sexual Assault Charges

The charge of sexual assault covers many different scenarios, from non-consensual intercourse (rape) to the mere touching in any way for sexual gratification over clothing or otherwise. Unfortunately, regardless of the seriousness of the allegations a conviction for this charge carries serious consequences.

The Consequences of a Sexual Assault Charge – Summarized

Sex crime accusations have the potential to ruin lives. A conviction can mean prison time, but it also carries life-long consequences. Sex offender status can prevent you from getting a job and in some cases can result in the loss of employment. You may be required to report your movements and you could be blocked from travelling outside Canadian borders. Beyond that, there is a stigma that attaches to those found guilty of sex crimes that can forever change the way others view you.

Aside from the possibility of jail and lengthy probation, any person convicted of sexual assault will be registered under SOIRA (Sexual Offender Information Registration Act) which creates a National Sex Offender Registry. In addition to the information normally stored on this registry, the Government of Canada has now introduced legislation that will require every person on the Registry to report all international travel plans prior to departure so that the Government can inform that country of the person’s intention to travel there. Obviously this will likely result in many individuals being declined entrance to those countries. 

If you are under investigation for a sexual assault allegation, or suspect that you may be a suspect it is imperative that you consult counsel immediately. The Police will either arrest you or ask you to come to the station to answer questions. It is their job to attempt to illicit a confession and they will utilize many different tactics of interrogation to do so including pretending to be your friend and playing on guilt. They are also permitted by law to mislead and lie to you to accomplish their goal.

Every person has the right to remain silent and that right should often be exercised in these circumstances.

Give us our team of Criminal Lawyers a call. We have won and handled these cases. There is a variety of defenses available to you.

Common Defences
  • 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.
  • Mistaken belief as to consent (again this defence has limitations).
  • Mistaken belief as to age (this defence has limitations).

You will need a Criminal Laywer who specializes in sex assault cases to help you.


Lie Detectors Employed for Sex Assault Charges

Lie Detector tests are not admissible in court as they can be unreliable and are controlled by the person conducting the test. Suspects in sex assault cases are often asked by police to perform a lie detector test conducted by them. Due to the unreliability we never suggest that our clients agree to undergo this procedure. However, the refusal to agree to a lie detector test by the suspect can be construed by the Police as an indication that there is something to hide, and that the suspect is actually guilty. It is important in our opinion that the refusal to conduct a lie detector test be conveyed to the Police through counsel. The Police understand that most if not all lawyers refuse to have their clients take the test. Therefore the refusal to do so from a lawyer does not necessarily connote a consciousness of guilt.

If you are charged with sexual assault you should retain counsel as soon as possible. You have the continued right to remain silent. You should not be discussing your case with anyone who could be called as a witness. In some instances, a private investigator has to be hired immediately to obtain witness statements while the facts are fresh.

Our Criminal Lawyers specialize in Sex Assault Charges. We can attend many court appearances on your behalf so you will not have to go.

Historical Sexual Assault Allegations

These cases are difficult for the Crown to prove and it is very important in almost all historical sex assault cases that a suspect or an accused does not have any discussions at all with the police.

For all of these reasons, it is critical that you have a skilled, knowledgeable sex crime defence lawyer on your side. The lawyers at Daley, Byers have extensive experience in this area and have successfully defended numerous individuals facing these charges.

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