Sexual assault charges are among the most serious charges in Canadian justice system. Not only do they carry severe penalties, but the social stigma attaching to such allegation is particularly great. Over and above the punitive consequences involved with conviction, sexual assault carries with it particular requirements for registration on lists. It is particularly important, then, to consult with counsel experienced in handling sexual assault charges, and to discuss with them all of your options to avoid a record for sexual assault.
Brampton’s Criminal Courthouse is called A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse. It is located at 7755 Hurontario Street, Brampton ON, L6W 4T1. The phone number for the Brampton Criminal Courthouse is (905) 456-4700. A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse as well has office hours, which occur Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
To locate information regarding upcoming court appearances, click here. Click here for services and contact information. Cases for adults and young persons aged 12-17 are heard at A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse in Brampton.
In 2016 in Brampton and Mississauga, 716 sexual assaults were reported by the Peel Regional Police. This number was an increase from the 583 reported sexual assaults in 2015. 455 of these reported sexual assault offences occurred specifically in Brampton, as indicated by the 22nd and 23rd Divisions.
Our Firm is particularly experienced with sexual assault charges. In our view, they tend to be very fact-based inquiries, in which lawyers, juries and judges sift through conflicting testimony from the accused, the complainant, and any witnesses.
The Firm also handles a wide range of sexual assault allegations ranging from offences against children to high profile sex offences in Brampton. The Firm is prepared and has defended charges of Sexual Interference, Internet Luring, Sexual Exploitation, Voyeurism, Child Pornography and other similar sex offences in Brampton.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Assaults in and of themselves are serious crimes. However, when a sexual element is also present, the accused faces even more serious consequences, both inside and outside of the legal system. The Criminal Code itself imposes more serious penalties on those convicted of sexual assault relative to those convicted of assault alone, alongside the risk of being placed in databases of sexual offenders. Sexual assaults also tend to attract greater condemnation from society at large, over and above sentences imposed by the court.
We recognize this whenever we take on clients, and we ensure that the Crown proceeds through a process that respects our clients’ rights while also attempting to protect our clients’ privacy, and, where possible, their anonymity.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is defined in the Criminal Code as an assault of a sexual nature where it is found that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. Sexual nature is determined objectively, in accordance with the views of a reasonable observer.
Rather than a precise requirement of touching specified parts of the complainant’s body, it is a holistic inquiry into whether the act is of a sexual nature and whether the sexual integrity of the victim was violated. To this end, the Supreme court has dictated that the following factors be considered:
• The part of the body touched;
• The nature of the contact;
• The situation in which it occurred;
• The words and gestures accompanying the act;
• All other circumstances surrounding the conduct, including threats which may or may not be accompanied by force; and,
• The accused’s intent or purpose as well as his motive, if such motive is sexual gratification, may also be factors in considering whether the conduct is sexual.
Sexual Assault Offences
There are three primary forms of sexual assault outlined in the Criminal Code, specifically:
- Section 271 – Sexual Assault (encompasses all assaults of a sexual nature violating the sexual integrity of the victim not covered by the other two provisions).
- Section 272 – Sexual Assault with a Weapon, Threats to a Third Party or Causing Bodily Harm arises in four situations when a person who, while committing a sexual assault, also does one of the following:
- (a) Carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation of a weapon;
- (b) Threatens to cause bodily harm to a person other than the complainant;
- (c) Causes bodily harm to the complainant; or
- (d) Is a party to the offence with any other person.
- Section 273 – Aggravated Sexual Assault occurs when an accused, in committing a sexual assault, wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.
Sentencing and Sexual Assault
As with most offences, penalties vary depending on the specific circumstances, particularly, whether certain “aggravating” factors (increasing sentences) or “mitigating” factors (reducing sentences) are present. In the context of sexual assault, the age of the complainant can often have a substantial effect.
In the case of Sexual Assault, as defined in section 271, penalties can range as high as ten years, provided that the Crown proceeds by indictment, the more demanding of the two procedures available. Where the complainant is under 16, the courts impose a minimum sentence of one year’s imprisonment.
Should the crown proceed “summarily”, offering fewer procedural protections but lower penalties, Sexual Assault is punishable by up to eighteen months’ imprisonment, with a 90-day minimum penalties where the victim is under 16.
Where the alleged offence involves a weapon, threats to a third party, or causing bodily harm (that is, it falls under section 272), the maximum term of imprisonment ranges up to fourteen years. Should this offence involve a firearm, a criminal association, prior convictions, or a victim aged under sixteen, various minimum sentencing provisions apply.
Section 273, the most serious of the three provisions, where the accused “wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant”, can result in prison terms of up to life imprisonment. The same factors outlined relating to section 272 create minimum terms of imprisonment.
The Age of Consent
In the discussions above, we frequently referenced complainants or victims under the age of 16 In Canada, the age of consent is sixteen, under which no one can legally consent to sexual activities (although there are exceptions where the accused is close in age to the accused). Where the accused is alleged to have “exploited” the complainant (that is, paid for their services as a prostitute), the age of consent is 18.
In addition to the offences outlined above, following conviction, a guilty plea, or a finding of Not Criminally Responsible for a “designated” sexual offence (including all of the offences discussed above), the Crown may seek a “SOIRA order”, which stands for an order under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act. This requires that the accused be added to a database of individuals convicted for such offences, which is available to police across the country, recording the individual’s address, description, and other information about the convicted offender. Such orders last 10 years, 20 years, or life, depending on the circumstances.
We understand just how serious allegations of sexual assault are, and we hope to work with you to resolve them as quickly and painlessly as possible. While our firm is based in Brampton, we have experience defending people accused of sexual assault throughout the province, including in Brampton. To discuss your case with us, we can be reached at 416-DEFENCE, or at [email protected] to arrange a free consultation with one of our team of Brampton criminal lawyers.