Frequently Asked Questions
What Evidence Does the Crown Need for a Conviction? What If There Is No Evidence?
For an assault conviction, the Crown must prove the person’s identity, the date/range of dates of when the incident occurred, and the jurisdiction that it happened in. In addition, the Crown must always prove the person accused threatened or applied some sort of force directly or indirectly to the other person. They must prove that the accused did so intentionally.
When dealing with an assault with a weapon charge, the Crown must prove the presence and possession of a weapon, either used or used to threaten the complainant.
Typically, in assault cases, there is little to no real, physical evidence. If there is no physical evidence or third party witnesses, testimony from the victim is often sufficient for the Crown to prove assault. The victim becomes the star witness and testifies. If the victim’s testimony is reliable and credible, it is enough for a conviction. All the Crown needs is the victim’s testimony.
The Need for Two Lawyers – Family and Criminal in Guelph?
In cases of domestic assault, the accused would likely need two lawyers. After the report of an assault, a no contact order is made so that the victim will remain safe. If children were involved in the assault, there would be a no contact order for the children as well.
If the accused and the victim share a residence, the victim is allowed to remain in the residence while the accused must typically leave due to the no contact order. Even in cases where the accused owns the property, the accused must comply with the no contact order and find another residence. If a separation is forthcoming, any shared assets would need to be re-allocated and divided.
Can You Be Charged with Assault for Defending Yourself?
Yes, you can be charged with assault for defending yourself. Self-defence is a defence that the accused must go to trial to prove. There are strict rules to prove a self defence. The self defence must be necessary and the accused can only use enough force to repel the attack. Unlike in American jurisdictions, there is no “stand your ground” clause in Canadian law. If a person is wounded during a self-defense altercation, as in the case of R. v. Meadows, the defendant may be charged with assault causing bodily harm.
Can You Legally Shoot an Intruder in Guelph?
No, you cannot legally shoot an intruder. Unlike in American jurisdictions, Canadian law has no “stand your ground clause.” Legally, though you are not required to retreat, you are encouraged to as the Court would consider whether “there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force.” (Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 34(2)). When defending one’s property, the owner can only use amount of force that is necessary to expel the intruder.
To prove self-defence or defence of property, there will usually need to be a trial. During the trial, the Court must consider multiple factors to determine whether or not the act committed is reasonable in the circumstances. Circumstantial factors include: the nature of force or threat; the imminency of the threat; the person’s role; the history of the parties; the physique, gender, and age of the parties; the presence of a weapon; the proportionality of the retaliation; and the lawfulness of a threat. Only after considering these factors can the Court give a verdict on whether or not the defence is valid. When in a dangerous situation, disengaging, retreating, and calling for help is often the legally sensible course of action.
Common Complications with Domestic Assaults
There may be many complications that come with domestic assaults. In the case of a domestic assault, should the couple be cohabitating, the no contact order removes the accused from the home. If children are involved with the assault case, the no contact order may include the child as well. This will bar the accused from visiting their own children. In these cases, a family court order may be required to lift the no contact order.
If the accused is trying to continue the relationship with the victim, the no contact order would also bar that from happening. The no contact order also extends to passing messages through mutual friends and social groups, as any indirect contact even through a third party is prohibited. If the accused works or is in school with the victim, the accused may be removed from the institution, and this may affect their finances or their education.