Frequently Asked Questions
What is a SOIRA Order in Cobourg?
Under the authority of the Sex Offenders Information Registration Act, a court must make an order when a person is convicted of a primary designated offence, such as sexual assault, for them to register under that Act. A complete list of designated offences can be found under s. 490.11 of the Criminal Code. These orders are issued during sentencing. If the maximum term of imprisonment for the offence committed is five years, a SOIRA order will remain active for 10 years. A maximum prison sentence of 10- or 14-year years will see the order’s duration include to 20 years. Finally, an offence carrying a life imprisonment sentence, or a repeat offender must register as a sex offender for life.
After reporting to a registration centre, an offender must provide their biographical details such as their name, date of birth, and gender. They must also provide their address, contact information and the addresses and contact information of their workplaces and/or schools. Finally, they must provide the details of their car, driver’s licence, and passport number. The offender must report one time every 11 months to a year, or within 7 days of changing their name, address, or receiving a piece of identification. If an offender fails to comply with this order, they will be charged with breaching a court order. The public cannot access the registry, it is used for the benefit of law enforcement.
What Other Penalties are Associated with a Sexual Assault Conviction?
Aside from SOIRA orders, other common penalties that go along with a sexual assault conviction are DNA orders, weapons prohibitions, and orders restricting access to children. Orders restricting access to children are authorized under s. 161 of the Code. These orders are issued when a person is sentenced to a variety of sexual offences where a child is the victim. The terms of the order stipulate that an offender shall not be in a public place where children would reasonably be expected to be. Offenders must keep a specified distance from the victim’s home, or any place associated with them. Offenders are also prevented from holding employment or volunteer positions where they are in a position of trust and authority over children. Offenders cannot have any form of contact with anyone under 16 unless that contact is supervised. Finally, offenders may only use the internet under conditions imposed by the court. The court can set any length they wish for such an order, and a violation of its terms would lead to additional criminal liability.
A weapons prohibition is dealt with under s. 109 of the Code. It is issued in circumstances of violent sexual assault or sexual assault with a weapon. The order applies to any firearm, crossbow, restricted or prohibited weapon, ammunition, or explosive device. Weapons prohibitions for first-time offenders last for 10 years. Any repeat offences will result in a lifetime weapons ban. As with other orders, a breach will lead to liability, or being charged with a weapons offence as the case may warrant.
What Should Someone Do if They are Being Investigated by the Police in Cobourg?
If someone is being investigated by the police for sexual assault, they should contact a lawyer, such as our counsel in Ajax, Pickering, and Cobourg, as soon as possible. Often, victims of sexual assault will make their allegations to other people before going to the police. This may give the accused person some advanced warning to prepare. This is especially important in cases of sexual assault because police act mostly on belief in the victim rather than independent investigation. Therefore, contacting a lawyer is crucial as they will be able to instruct the person on their rights upon arrest and obligations concerning the criminal justice process.
Will a Person Convicted of Sexual Assault in Ajax, Pickering or Cobourg Have to Provide a Sample of Their DNA?
Any person convicted of sexual assault will have to provide a DNA sample, as sexual assault is a primary designated offence, unless the assault was minor, or the offender was easily identifiable to the victim. DNA orders are set out in s. 487.051(1) of the Code and are governed by the DNA Identification Act. Samples are stored in a national DNA data bank and are used by law enforcement and others to prosecute individuals who committed designated offences, or to identify missing persons and unidentified remains. The samples are taken by either a police officer or another trained individual, and the samples remain in the bank permanently. Samples may be removed from the bank and sealed if the offender is either pardoned or has their criminal record suspended.
What are Some Common Myths and Stereotypes Surrounding Sexual Assault?
There are many long-believed myths and stereotypes that concern sexual assault that no longer hold any value in Canadian law. As our understanding of this topic has evolved over time, it becomes clear that many of these myths are damaging to victims and make it more difficult for them to come forward seeking justice. Among the most important discredited myths is the idea that it can no longer be assumed how a victim of sexual assault should behave during or after the offence. Some victims may resist the assault, and some may not. Some may delay going to the police out of fear. Trauma responses are extremely personal, so a judge who decides a case based on their own assumptions rather than the available evidence has committed an error of law. Nor can these factors undermine the credibility of the victim’s testimony.
Another stereotype of sexual assault deals with the idea that how a victim dresses affects the notion of consent. It was once believed that a person dressed in revealing or otherwise sexually suggestive clothes would consent to sexual activity. However, the Ontario Court of Appeal in R. v. Lacombe, 2019 ONCA 938, did away with that reasoning. Where the trial judge had relied on improper reasoning informed by the victim’s outfit during the offence, the appeal court clarified that the way a person dresses does not signify consent or justify assault [at para 39].