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Defend Assault Charges

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Our Experience

In 2022, Donich Law represented an individual charged with one count of assault with a weapon and one count of simple assault in R. v. S.Y. [2022]. The client was arrested after allegedly assaulting her ex-partner during an argument. The accused was holding a cell phone in one hand during the alleged assault, leading to an assault with a weapon charge. The Firm negotiated with the Crown to provide context to the situation, ultimately leading to a withdrawal of the charges.

In 2022, the Firm successfully represented a client charged with assault, uttering death threats, and assault with a weapon after getting into a heated altercation with his domestic partner in R. v. Y.W. [2022]. The accused was alleged to have assaulted his partner and threatened her with a knife during a fight. The Firm participated in Crown negotiations, presenting evidence to show that the accused had taken steps to address the issues leading to the alleged offences. After several months of negotiations, the Crown agreed to withdrawal all charges.

In 2021, Donich Law successfully represented an accused charged with assault and assault with a weapon in R. v. J.D. [2021]. The client was charged after he brandished a knife and pushed his partner during a heated argument. The Firm resolved the matter without a criminal record for the accused by securing a withdrawal of the charges. This result was achieved by using a video that was taken during the time of the incident. The complainant secretly recorded the accused which actually produced exculpatory evidence. It showed the accused wasn’t actually holding the knife, and that it was the complainant who suggested herself that he was going to hold the knife.

In a report by the Peel Regional Police, there were 4683 non-sexual assaults reported in the year 2020 in the Peel Region. The number rose to 4992 assaults in the year 2021. Assault is a serious and violent crime that can remain on the criminal record. An assault charge can have debilitating effects on an accused’s personal life. Once charged with assault, it is important for an individual to retain a lawyer to protect their rights.

In 2021, the Firm successfully represented an individual charged with criminal harassment, false information and indecent communications in R. v. B.K. [2021]. The accused was alleged to have sent Instagram messages from a fake account to a mutual friend of he and his ex-partner, indicating that the ex-partner wanted to engage in sexual activity with the mutual friend. Law enforcement used IP address information to arrest the accused. The Firm negotiated the matter with the Crown for more than one year, pointing out weaknesses in the Crown’s case and ultimately resolving the matter without a criminal record.

In 2021, the Firm represented an accused charged with domestic assault after allegedly striking his partner in the face in R. v. A.R. [2021]. Having just had a baby together, the complainant hired independent legal counsel to assist her in varying the no contact order put in place by the court when the accused was arrested. Working alongside the complainant’s legal counsel, the Firm was able to present a united defence, resulting in the charges being withdrawn.

Jail Sentences for Assault Charges in Canada

Donich Law - Assault Punishments

In R. v. B.W. [2021], Donich Law represented an individual charged with two counts of assault, forcible confinement, assault with a weapon and uttering death threats after an altercation with his domestic partner. After more than two years of litigation the Firm successfully defended the charges by exposing material inconsistencies in the Crown’s case during cross-examination.

In 2020, Donich Law represented an individual charged will assault causing bodily harm, choking and assault in R v. A.M. [2020]. In that case, the accused allegedly struck and choked his partner during an argument. The Firm was able to resolve the matter with a peace bond, avoiding a criminal record. Withdrawing choking charges is difficult given the strong public interest in their prosecution. The Firm achieved the result with independent legal counsel for the complainant who was in a same-sex relationship.

The Firm secured a withdrawal of all charges against the president of a Martial Arts Team during the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games in R. v. J.F. [2015] after he had been accused of assault. The defence was able to show the alleged assault was politically motivated and taken out of context.

We resolved the case of R v N.S. [2016], in which a client was charged with assault causing bodily harm for kicking a 10-year-old in the groin at a Jay’s game, without a criminal record. The unprovoked attack was difficult to defend. The Firm was able to adduce medical evidence to the sentencing judge which produced significant mitigating circumstances.

How to Defend Assault Charges

In February 2018, the Firm defended an individual charged with assault and four counts of assault with a weapon in R. v. E.T. [2018]. The accused was charged with assaulting a ten-year-old. The Firm secured a withdrawal of all five charges. The parent who was charged was referred to Children’s Aid Society for an investigation which led to temporary disruption in the family. The family was once again united once the charges were withdrawn.

In January 2019, the Firm defended a serious assault causing bodily harm charge, where the accused allegedly fractured the jaw of the complainant in R. v. S.G. [2019]. After a year of litigation and after discovering exculpatory video surveillance evidence, the Firm resolved the charge without a criminal record. The Firm was able to achieve the result by having updated medical information clarify the alleged scope of injuries.

Our Firm also dedicates a large part of our practice to domestic assault charges. Domestic assault allegations generally involve allegations of assault within an intimate relationship, including those in same-sex intimate relationships. In 2014, the Firm secured two separate withdrawals of domestic assault charges against an IROC regulated employee in R. v. C.L. [2014] and a financial services employee in R. v. E.T. [2014].

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Frequently Asked Questions

What if the Couple in a Domestic Assault case have Children in Brampton?

Assault charges almost always result in a no contact order. The child’s safety always comes first. If the child happened to be a part of the assault, then the no contact order would include the child. If the no contact order only exists between the parents, the accused may ask for access to children through a third party in a bail hearing. This process must be followed as this is considered asking for an exception to the no contact order. The third party must be neutral and mutually agreed upon, like a grandparent.

Common Defences to Assault in Brampton

A common defence to assault would be consent. The Criminal Code states that assault happens without consent; if the person consented to the touching, it would be a valid defence. However, this only applies to simple assault charges, as no one can consent to bodily harm.

Another defence would be the defence of reflex action. Sometimes more colloquially known as a knee-jerk reaction, a violent reflex does not necessarily mean an assault conviction. For example, if a person’s reflex to being startled is throwing their fist out, and they accidentally punch another; reflex would be an applicable defence.

Unlike in America, Canada has no “stand your ground” provision. When self-defence is used as a defence, a trial must commence. In Canada, the accused is allowed to use an amount of force necessary to repel the attack—no more, no less. As domestic assault has a multitude of relationship factors, the court will examine both parties and hear both sides.

Provided that the original intention was not death or bodily harm, the Court will consider the accused’s role in the incident, the history of the parties, and gender/physical capabilities of both parties. A major factor in the Court’s decision is whether the force in defence is proportional. For example, causing potential death (perhaps via a gun), is not a proportional reaction to a threat. In addition, factors such as intent, the person’s role in the incident and gender/physical abilities are taken into consideration. These principles also apply to the defence of defence of property; if the accused has lawful possession of the property or special property interest.

Simultaneous Family and Criminal Law Proceedings in Brampton

The two areas of criminal law and family law often intersect; one court will look to the other court for their respective issues. The Family Court has more authority regarding the access to children, while the Criminal Court can determine whether the accused is dangerous or not. Access to the child is often granted through a Family Court order. If a no contact order is in place, the court may allow an except as per the family court order. Cases can range from having full access, visits, supervised visits, or visits at a governmental center.

Can the Police Lie to You?

Yes, the police can lie. During an investigation of a crime, the police may go undercover. Even after detainment, the police will not always be truthful. They may lie about things like DNA evidence or witness evidence. For example, the police may attempt to convince the suspect that they have evidence to get a confession. If the suspect has been detained or arrested, the police must reveal the reason for the arrest, but can omit certain truths. They may also use other tactics to goad the suspect into speaking. When detained by the police or interacting with them, it is best to remain silent.

There is one exception to the rule: the police cannot lie about rights. Any rights codified in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the police cannot lie about. This includes the right to remain silent and the right to counsel. Upon police involvement and investigation, it is important to retain a lawyer as soon as possible.

How long does a Criminal Assault Case take vs. Family Law Proceedings?

In the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 11(b) ensures the right to be tried at a reasonable time. In the Supreme Court of Canada case of R. v. Jordan, [2016] 1 S.C.R. 631, the Court placed great importance on trial within a reasonable time, as it affects the liberty interests of the accused. It would be unconstitutional to force someone to live in either pre-trial custody or under bail conditions for an unreasonable amount of time. A long-delayed trial also causes stress, anxiety, and stigma for the accused. As such, criminal trials in provincial courts must not be delayed past 18 months; and must not be delayed past 30 months for cases for the superior court. However, there is no such timeline for family court proceedings.

When charges are laid in a domestic violence situation, family law can intersect with criminal. When an accused is arrested for a domestic violence case, bail conditions will include a no contact order for the persons involved. This may involve the spouse or child. The no contact order can last for years, and this may cause the accused to be unable to see their family or child(ren). To lift the no contact order, an order from the Family Court is often needed. In some circumstances, the family proceedings may outlast the criminal trial. After a conviction in criminal court, the conviction can then be taken into family court, which will be factored in for their final decision.

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Recent Cases

R. v. Ha, 2023 ONCJ 75

In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Ha, the accused pled guilty to one count of assault and one count of distributing sexual images. The accused was in a dysfunctional relationship with the complainant, who was his intimate partner. He had previously assaulted the complainant three times, as well as distributed ten videos of their sexual activities on a pornographic website.

During the sentencing hearing, the Court considered several aggravating and mitigating factors for the assault. Aggravating and mitigating factors are taken into consideration when deciding a sentence, and they may increase or decrease its duration. A mitigating factor was regret on the part of the accused, as well as the accused’s guilty plea, which spared the victim from taking the stand. Aggravating factors, on the other hand, included: violence against an intimate partner, the number of sex videos the accused had published, and the emotional impact of the victim. As assault is a secondary designated DNA offence, DNA samples of the accused was stored in the National Databank. The accused was sentenced to five years.

R. v. Cheema, 2022 ONCJ 632

In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Cheema, the accused pled guilty to one count of aggravated assault and two counts of driving dangerously causing bodily harm. The accused had struck three teenage boys with his vehicle. These teenage boys were associated with accosting, assaulting, and robbing the accused and his 14-year-old cousin at the mall. While driving to leave the mall, the offender saw the three boys, and ran them down.

During sentencing, the judge considered several aggravating and mitigating factors. The mitigating factors include: regret on the part of the offender, the offender’s guilty plea, the offender’s education and employment, as well as this being the offender’s first offence. The aggravating factors on the other hand, highlighted the injuries the complainants suffered, the lack of responsibility of the offender for not calling the ambulance and fleeing the scene, as well as the conscious and deliberate act of using “his family vehicle as a weapon for revenge.”

The order for the offender’s DNA was made, as aggravated assault is a primary designated offence. The offender is prohibited from possessing any weapons for ten years and is prohibited from driving in Canada for five years. The offender is sentenced to 90 days, served on the weekends, for aggravated assault; as well as 22 months’ imprisonment, served conditionally in the community, for the driving offences.

R. v. Meadows, 2023 ONSC 2695

In the Superior Court of Justice case of R. v. Meadows, the appellant was charged and convicted of assault causing bodily harm; the appellant sought to set this judgement aside. Meadows was assaulted by Suter with a knife, for being in the home with Clough, with whom Suter believed he had a relationship with. After an altercation, Meadows uttered, “I’m not fucking done with you yet.” Suter then claimed Meadows assaulted him in the bathroom as they washed up. Meadows claimed to act in self defence.

During the trial, the Court considered the Yebes test, which set the threshold for what was considered an unreasonable judgement. An unreasonable judgement would be overturned by the Court. After looking at the evidence of the case of assault and taking into multiple factors such as Meadows’ utterance of “I’m not fucking done with you yet,” it was found that the trial judge was at fault for inferring from Meadows’ utterance, further injuries and assault. Meadows’ words did not necessarily mean a threat. The appeal was allowed and the conviction for assault set aside.

About the Author

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Jordan Donich

Jordan Donich has been a Lawyer for over 10 years and is a trusted legal analyst by Canadian Media. He is as a leader in Canada’s tech sector for lawyers and developer of Law Newbie. Jordan is a Black Belt with the Japan Karate Association and trained in Krav Maga. He won a Gold Medal at 2004 Canadian National Championships and was published in the National Newspaper Awards.

Jordan has been featured in Forbes and is a member of DMZ Angels in Toronto.