Donich Law has devoted a portion of its practice to defending those charged with sexual assault offences in Guelph and all over the province of Ontario. We have experience defending regular citizens charged for the first time, those with a prior criminal record and those who have been accused of historical sexual assault. If you have been charged with a sexual assault offence in Guelph, Donich Law can help guide you through the Court process to ensure you receive the best possible outcome in your case. In some cases, we have been able to resolve our clients sexual assault charges without a criminal record. Click here for more information on new changes to sexual assault laws in 2021. Consider the implications of a publication ban during your proceeding as well.

In 2016, a total of 85 sexual assault were reported to police in Guelph. This brought the annual rate in Guelph to 64.22 per 100,00, which is higher than the national annual rate of 56.56 per 100,000.

In R. v. Y.F. [2021], Donich Law defended an accused charged with assault for choking another individual, and sexual assault. The Firm litigated the matter for over two years, hiring an expert witness to refute the Crown’s assertion that the complainant was unable to consent to the sexual activity due to intoxication. The accused was acquitted at trial.

In 2022, Donich Law successfully represented a client charged with cruelty to animals, sexual assault, assault with a weapon, assault (choking), and assault in R. v. A.B. [2022]. The accused was arrested after his ex-partner made allegations of physical and sexual abuse that occurred years prior while the couple was in an intimate relationship. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, the Crown sought a significant term of incarceration upon conviction. Donich Law set the matter down for trial. Due to significant Crown delays in providing basic disclosure, the Firm launched an 11(b) argument, stating that the accused’s right to be tried within a reasonable time had been violated. The Crown reviewed the 11(b) material and ultimately withdrew the charges of sexual assault, assault (choking), assault with a weapon and cruelty to animals.

In R. v. D.P. [2021], Donich Law defended a man charged with sexual assault after he allegedly touched his friend in a sexual manner without consent. The Firm had the client psychologically assessed to reveal underlying mental health issues. The Firm negotiated with the Crown for roughly 18 months before securing a withdrawal by adding context to the assault.

In early 2020, the Firm defended an individual charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in R. v. M.Z. [2020]. In that case, the accused, who owned several restaurants around the city of Toronto, was alleged to have sexually assaulted an employee inside his office. After roughly a year of litigation, the Firm was able to prove, on cross-examination of the complainant, that she was being dishonest regarding the nature of the interaction, and the accused was acquitted of all charges. In R. v. K.H. [2020], the Firm represented another individual charged with sexual assault and secured an acquittal for the accused.

In 2019, the Firm defended an individual charged with sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching and sexual interference stemming from incidents allegedly dating back to 1985 in R. v. A.E. [2019]. In that case, after over a year of litigation, the Firm was able to present evidence to the Court proving that the complainant had fabricated the allegations.

In 2018, the Firm represented an individual charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement after allegedly sexually assaulting a co-worker inside a Swiss Chalet bathroom in R. v. S.L. [2018]. The complainant and accused had been having a secret affair prior to the alleged incident. The Firm filed a s. 276 application to admit evidence of the complainant’s past sexual history into evidence at trial, ultimately showing that the complainant had hidden exculpatory evidence against the accused, causing the Court to issue a stay of proceedings.

In 2018, the Firm defended an individual charged with eleven counts of sexual assault and sexual interference in R. v. Z.C. [2018]. In that case, the defendant had been accused by multiple minor family members. The Firm was ultimately able to have the charges withdrawn. In 2017, the Firm represented a prominent realtor accused of sexual assault in R. v. Y.E. [2017]. The Firm was able to negotiate with the accuser and resolve the matter without charges being laid against the accused.

In 2016, the Firm defended an individual charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching in R. v. D.N. [2016]. The allegations stemmed from an incident occurring more than ten years prior. After a three-day trial the Firm was able to secure an acquittal on all charges.

In R. v. C.B. [2021], the Firm defended an accused charged with sexual assault after allegedly touching his ex-spouse in a sexual manner without consent. Part of the defence strategy was to propose a s. 276 application which would provide the alleged victim with independent legal counsel and advice. Additionally, the Firm uncovered evidence of past false allegations of abuse related to a marital affair. After approximately 18 months of negotiations with the Crown, the Firm as able to secure a withdrawal of the charge when the complainant appeared unwilling to testify.

The Guelph criminal courthouse is located at 36 Wyndham Street South, Guelph, ON N1H 7J5.  Wyndham Street South and Fountain Street is the main intersection. This criminal courthouse has jurisdiction over all criminal matters that have occurred in the province of Ontario. As well, the courthouse specifically hears cases of serious criminal offences alleged to have occurred in Guelph. The courthouse can be reached at 519-826-4431 and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Services are offered in English, French and Quebec Sign Language and there are Interpretive Services.

Click here for more information on defending sexual assault allegations including common defences and the law of consent in Canada or here if you have been falsely accused. Click here for more information on new changes to child sex offence sentencing.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

CP24: Civil Sexual Assault Lawsuit at St. Michael’s in Toronto.

Global News Radio: Two Lawsuits against Harvey Weinstein are being settled.

Global News: Historical Sexual Assault Charges and Bill Cosby.

Global News Radio: Justin Bieber facing allegations of Sexual Assault.

CityNews: Jordan Donich comments to CityNews regarding challenges with Sexual Assault Trials in Toronto.

CityNews: Jordan Donich provides expert commentary to CityNews regarding Sexual Assault Prosecution.

Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sexual Assault?
What are Common Sentences for Sexual Assault in Guelph?
What if Someone is Wrongfully Accusing me of Sexual Assault?
What are the Possible Defences to Sexual Assault in Guelph?
-Denying Sexual Activity

Additional Resources

Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
First Offenders
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Your Rights

What is Sexual Assault? 

The offence of sexual assault is outlined in section 271 of the Criminal Code. The Code states that an individual has committed a sexual assault when they commit an assault on another person and through that assault violate the sexual integrity of the victim. Due to the broad nature of the definition of sexual assault, the following factors are used to determine whether an assault can be considered sexual:

  • The part of anatomy of the complainant that was touched by the accused
  • The circumstances leading up to and surrounding the alleged sexual assault
  • Whether or not threats or violence was used in the commission of the assault
  • The intentions of the accused in committing the alleged assault
  • The nature of the physical contact between the accused and the complainant

Aside from simple sexual assault, the Criminal Code also contains more aggravating sexual assault offences including sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.

Assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm is outlined in section 272 of the Criminal Code. It states that the offence has been committed when an individual commits a sexual assault while using, carrying or threatening to use a weapon or imitation thereof, where the accused causes bodily harm, or threatens to cause bodily harm to the complainant or a third party or where the accused is a party to the offence with any other person. Those convicted of a s. 272 offence will face harsher penalties than those convicted of simple sexual assault.

Aggravated sexual assault is outlined in section 273(1) of the Criminal Code. It states that an individual is guilty of aggravated sexual assault when they commit a sexual assault and in the process of committing the assault maims, wounds, disfigures or endangers the life of the alleged victim.

Sexual assault offences are considered among the most serious before the Court in Guelph. As a result, it is important to have experienced legal counsel on your side from the beginning of the proceedings.

What are Common Sentences for Sexual Assault in Guelph?

Due to the broad definition of sexual assault provided in the Code, the sentences handed down to individual’s convicted of sexual assault offences can vary significantly from one offender to the next, depending on the severity of the allegations being made. For example, an individual accused of giving a complainant an unwanted kiss will be sentenced much more leniently than an individual accused of committing a violent rape.

Whether or not an individual will be sentenced to a period of incarceration or a more lenient community based sentence will depend on a number of factors including; the Crown’s election (summarily or by indictment), the criminal history of the accused, the nature and severity of the allegations and any other aggravating or mitigating factors presented to the Court.

In cases involving very minor allegations and where the accused has no criminal history, it is sometimes possible to have the charges discharged, either conditionally or absolutely. A discharge will only be granted where the Crown and Court do not feel as though giving the accused a criminal record for their actions would be appropriate. Due to the serious nature of sexual assault charges, discharges are rarely available.

In cases involving more serious allegations of sexual assault, an accused person may be given a custodial sentence upon conviction. Depending on the severity of a sexual assault, the Crown will proceed by indictment or by summary conviction. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment the Court may impose a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment on the accused if they are found guilty. If the Crown proceeds by summary conviction, the Court may impose a maximum of two years less a day imprisonment if the accused is found guilty.

Having experienced legal counsel on your side from as early on as possible will ensure you receive the best possible outcome in your case. In some cases, Donich Law has been able to resolve sexual assault charges for our clients with no jail time and in some cases with no criminal record.

What if Someone is Wrongfully Accusing me of Sexual Assault?

In today’s world, being falsely accused of committing a sexual assault can impact an individual’s life tremendously. Having such a false accusation made can lead to negative impacts on an individual’s career, educational career and personal life. For example, an individual who is being investigated for sexual assault may be terminated from their place of employment and may have difficulty gaining new employment. If attending an educational institution, such an accused may be administratively suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. This is especially true where the allegations involve, or are alleged to have occurred, at the accused’s place of employment or school. Further, the personal lives of those wrongfully accused of sexually based offences are often deeply impacted, with reputations sometimes being damages beyond repair.

It is common for those wrongfully accused of committing a sexual assault to want to cooperate with any investigations, feeling as though they have nothing to hide. In many cases however, this can be a mistake. Making statements to investigators can lead to such statements later being used against the accused in Court proceedings. As with any criminal offence, if you have been falsely accused of committing a sexual assault it is best to exercise one’s right to remain silent.

It is also important to contact experienced legal counsel immediately if you have been wrongfully accused of committing sexual assault. Legal counsel can assist in limiting the amount of exposure the allegations receive to minimize the negative impacts on the accused’s life.

What are the Possible Defences to Sexual Assault in Guelph?

Being accused of a sexual assault offence can lead to very serious implications on an individual, especially if they are convicted of the offence. Generally, those charged with sexual assault in Guelph will utilize one of a few possible defences which include; consent and denying any sexual activity occurred.


In sexual assault cases where it is undisputed that the accused and complainant engaged in sexual activity, the accused may in some cases be able to argue consent. The defence of consent argues that all sexual activity that occurred between the complainant and accused during the alleged incident was consensual.

If the complainant is arguing that the sexual activity was not consensual, it is often helpful to have the accused testify to present evidence as to why they believed the complainant was consenting. To successfully use this defence, the accused must convince the Court that the complainant was consenting to the sexual activity, on an ongoing basis, throughout the interaction. Alternatively, the accused may argue mistaken belief in consent. In this scenario the accused must convince the Court that they took reasonable steps to ascertain whether the complainant was consenting, and that they genuinely believed that consent existed throughout the sexual encounter.

Denying Sexual Activity

In other situations, an accused may argue that the complainant has fabricated the allegations, and that no sexual activity occurred between them. To use this defence successfully, the accused will often have to provide the Court with reasons as to why the complainant would fabricate the allegations.

As with any criminal case, the burden lies with the Crown to prove not only that sexual activity occurred between the complainant and accused but also that the complainant was not consenting to the sexual activity. If the Crown does not have enough evidence to make their case to the Court, the accused need not make any argument or present any evidence, they may simply argue that the Crown failed to make their case.

Quick Facts

Can I go to Jail if I am Convicted of Sexual Assault?

Yes. Sexual assault offences can result in periods of incarceration for those who are convicted, depending on the seriousness of the allegations, the criminal history of the accused and any other relevant aggravating or mitigating circumstances present in the case. Maximum prison sentences range from two years less a day to life.

What if the Complainant Consented to the Sexual Activity?

If the complainant consented to the sexual activity but is now claiming sexual assault, the accused will generally need to present some evidence to bolster their version of events. Such cases will almost always go to trial.

What is Consent?

Consent is the ongoing, clear communication of agreement to engage in sexual activity. In Canada, consent must be ongoing at every escalation in sexual activity. An individual who engages in sexual activity with a person who is not consenting will be guilty of sexual assault.

Will a Sexual Assault Conviction Affect my Ability to Travel?

In many cases, yes. Having any criminal record, especially one for a sexual offence, can seriously limit an individual’s ability to travel outside of Canada. The United States for example, is strict regarding whom they allow inside their borders and may deny entry to anyone with a criminal record. This is true of many countries around the world.

What if I was in a Relationship with the Complainant in the Past?

As a general rule, prior sexual contact between the complainant and the accused is not admissible as evidence in a sexual assault case. Prior sexual history of the complainant is also not admissible. As a result, the fact that an accused was in a relationship with the complainant in the past is generally not relevant.

Will I be Required to Register as a Sex Offender?

Yes. Sexual assault is a designated sexual offence as outlined by the Criminal Code. As a result, individuals who are convicted of sexual assault will be issued a SOIRA order by the Court upon conviction, requiring them to register as a sex offender.

How Long do SOIRA Orders Remain in Place?

A SOIRA order may remain in place for ten years, twenty-five years or life, as instructed by the Court. The Court will determine which period of time is appropriate for the accused based on the nature and severity of the allegations and the accused’s criminal history.

416-DEFENCE | 416-333-3623