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Defend Assault Charges

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Our Experience

In 2022, Donich Law successfully defended an individual charged with uttering death threats, assault with a weapon and assault in R. v. Y.W. [2022]. The client was charged after allegedly threatening his domestic partner with a knife and assaulting her during an argument. Donich Law ultimately secured the withdrawal of all charges by demonstrating that the accused had addressed the underlying issues that led to his arrest. If the offender is willing to do some upfront work, they are more likely to receive consideration from the Crown to drop the charges.

In R. v. S.Y. [2022], the Firm represented an individual arrested for allegedly assaulting their ex-partner while holding a cell phone. The alleged assault led to a simple assault and an assault with a weapon charge being laid against the accused. The Firm secured a withdrawal of both charges after negotiating with the Crown and providing context to the alleged incident. Video evidence was also used to challenge the statement of the complainant. It’s rare to have video surveillance of an assault, depending on the case it can be useful to the defence if not obtained by law enforcement.

In early 2019, the Firm defended an individual charged with assault causing bodily harm in R. v. Z.C. [2019]. After a year of litigation, the Firm was able to secure a discharge for the accused. Later in 2019, the Firm resolved two separate domestic assault matters without criminal charges for either accused in R v. A.V. [2019] and R. v. M.R. [2019]. In both cases, the accused’s were second time offenders. Defending domestic violence offences for second offenders is more difficult because the Crown will likely seek a conviction or jail sentence. Sentencing principles require the court to consider prior interactions with the justice system which increases the probability of jail.

The police in Kitchener can arrest you for the crime of assault. Assault is a serious, violent crime that often has victims involved. In the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area, there were 654 cases of assault out of 1181 cases of violent crime in 2018. In a report by the Waterloo Regional Police, in 2021, there was 3597 charges laid in response to calls related to domestic violence.

In 2018, the Firm represented an individual charged with four counts of assault with a weapon and one count of assault in R. v. E. T. [2018]. The Firm was able to have all five charges withdrawn. The accused was the parent of the child complainant where Children’s Aid Society (CAS) became involved. Although the parent had intentions of disciplining the child, the allegations quickly spun out of control once CAS became involved. Ultimately the family was united once the the proceeding was resolved and the accused returned home to her family.

In 2016, the Firm represented an individual alleged to have kicked a ten-year-old child in the groin at a Toronto Blue Jays Game in R. v. N.S. [2016]. The individual was charged with assault causing bodily harm. After negotiating with the Crown, the Firm was able to resolve the matter without a criminal record for the accused. This was achieved by having the accused undergo a phycological assessment which proved there were underlying mental health concerns. The court has an obligation to consider the mental fitness of the accused at the time of the alleged incident which is mitigating for sentencing.

Jail Sentences for Assault Charges in Canada

Donich Law - Assault Punishments

In R. v. R.S. [2016], the Firm defended an individual charged with assault causing bodily harm after allegedly punching another man in the face and breaking his zygomatic bone, requiring three reconstructive surgeries to repair. After three years of litigation the Firm was able to prove that the complainant had been sexually harassing the accused’s girlfriend immediately before the incident. Ultimately, the matter was resolved without a criminal record for the accused. The complainant was very motivated to ensure the accused received a conviction so a judicial pretrial was conducted prior to resolving the matter to obtain judicial input. The complainant may have been motivated, but doesn’t have the final say in the proceeding.

In 2016, the Firm Defended an individual charged with assault with a weapon after throwing her purse at her husband in R. v. P.S. [2016]. The Firm was able to negotiate with the Crown to have the charge withdrawn and proved the complainant was actually exploiting the accused, a new Canadian immigrant. Her fingerprints and photographs were later destroyed which finalized her immigration process. In 2015, the Firm defended a City of Toronto employee charged with assault with a weapon after throwing his keys at his spouse in R. v. P.L. [2015]. The Firm was able to have the charge withdrawn, resolving the matter without a criminal record for the accused. Any object used in the context of a domestic altercation can be treated as a weapon when the police lay charges.

How to Defend Assault Charges

In 2023, the Firm represented a client charged with assault and assault – choking in R. v. J.S. [2023]. The client was arrested and charged after an individual waiting for a bus witnessed the accused get into an altercation with his girlfriend. The witness called police alleging that they had seen the accused grab and choke the complainant. Police attended the scene, and the accused was arrested and charged. After two years of Crown negotiations the Firm secured the withdrawal of the charge.

In 2022, the Firm represented an individual charged with one count of assault after grabbing the arm of a child at the daycare she worked at, cause the child to fall and injure her face in R. v. G.S. [2022]. The Crown’s initial position on sentence involved a period of incarceration. The Firm had the client undergo a formal risk assessment to demonstrate a low risk of recidivism. After two years of pre-trials and negotiations the Firm resolved the matter without a criminal record.

In 2024, the Firm represented a client charged with breach of probation, extortion, and criminal harassment in R. v. A.C. [2024]. The accused was arrested after law enforcement linked his IP address to harassing messages being sent to the complainant over a social media platform. Police got a warrant to search the accused’s home and seized several electronic devices. After a thorough disclosure review, the Firm brought several serious issues with the evidence to the Crown’s attention, and after more than a year of Crown delay, threatened an 11(b) Charter challenge. All charges against the accused were ultimately withdrawn.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What If the Complainant Keeps Contacting Me Despite a No Contact Order?

If a complainant in Kitchener keeps on reaching out to the accused, they may be charged with facilitating the breach of a court order. The victim is not necessarily in breach of the no contact order by reaching out, as the no contact order only applies to the accused, but repeated enticing someone to breach a court order is a crime. If the victim was repeatedly trying to reach out to get the accused to respond and breach their court order, the victim could be charged with facilitating the breach of a court order. In these cases, it is good to contact a lawyer and to keep evidence of the attempts at contact. A no contact order is extremely serious, for the safety of the victim and the accused. Any response from the accused is a crime.

How Does the Crown Prove Assault, Domestic Assault, or Other Types of Assault?

To prove any type of assault in Kitchener, the Crown must begin by proving the jurisdiction of the event, the date/date range of when it happened, and the identity of the accused. In other words, the Crown must prove the accused was present and a part of the altercation. The Crown also has to prove the accused either threatened or made contact with the complainant, when the complainant is not consenting in any way.

To prove assault with a weapon, the Crown must prove there was the presence of a weapon or the imitation of a weapon. In order to prove assault causing bodily harm, the Crown must have evidence of the bodily harm. “Bodily harm” is defined by the Criminal Code as something that affected the complainant’s health or comfort “that is more than merely transient or trifling in nature.” This may include bruising, cutting, or any sort of lasting damage or suffering.

Will a Domestic Assault Charge Impact My Family in Kitchener?

Yes, a domestic assault charge will almost always impact the family. A no contact order between the accused and the complainant is always issued, even if the complainant has a familial relation with the accused. If a child was involved in the assault, the no contact order would also apply to the child. There may be an issue with shared residency between the complainant and the accused, as the no contact order would prevent further cohabitation. The accused must leave the residence, regardless of whether they own the property or not.

In addition, being criminally charged is stigmatizing. Having a criminal record or being a part of a criminal proceeding may significantly impact the way others see the accused and the complainant. Financial troubles could arise because of lost job opportunities, and travel may be an issue. If you are criminally charged, it is important to get a lawyer to protect your rights.

If I am the Complainant in an Assault Case, Can I Drop the Charges in Kitchener?

No, the charges cannot be dropped by a complainant. When charges are laid, they are laid on behalf of the Crown. The government takes over the proceedings. The only way for a complainant to withdraw is to prove credibility or reliability issues with their memory or evidence. In the leading court decision of R. v. W (D), [1991] 1 S.C.R. 742, the Supreme Court of Canada decided on the factors that would render a complainant’s evidence null. Credibility is assessed by the belief in the accused’s testimony, and any degree of belief of testimony by the accused must result in an acquittal.

What If I Did Not Want the Accused to be Charged and Was Not the One Who Called the Police?

Regardless of the complainant’s intent, the police will arrest the accused. It does not matter if the person who called is a third-party witness, a 911 call is enough to get someone arrested. In situations like these, the police will still lay the charge. When laying a charge for assault, a no contact order is usually applied between the complainant and the accused. This may be debilitating for some families. In domestic violence situations, it is very common for complainants to excuse certain situations or altercations. This may happen due to a variety of factors, such as the desire to continue the relationship or fear of retaliation. The police will arrest the accused, especially if a third party has seen the altercation or become involved.

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Recent Cases

R. v. Guzzo, 2007 ONSC 36639

In the Ontario Supreme Court case of R. v. Guzzo, the complainant was the accused’s ex-girlfriend. Armed with a steak knife and brandishing it, Guzzo also had what appeared to be a handgun on him. Guzzo began to threaten his ex-girlfriend, asking for her to leave the apartment with him. A tenant in the apartment, Patti Marcellus, rushed to intervene. Luckily, no one was harmed. The ex-girlfriend, Ashley Biron, told the accused that she was not cooperating with the police. However, the witness did not lie to the police, and Guzzo was ultimately charged. The handgun was not found.

While considering the count of assault, the Court compared the accused’s actions with what was defined in the Criminal Code. Section 265(c) of the Code defined assault with a weapon as any attempt to threaten or accost someone while openly wearing or carrying a weapon (or an imitation of a weapon.) The Court found that any attempted threat or threat was tantamount to assault, and that Marcellus reasonably feared for her safety. Guzzo guilty was found guilty.

R. v. Khesro-Mohamed-Rasheed, 2023 ONCJ 88

In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Khesro-Mohamed-Rasheed, the accused was charged with assault causing bodily harm contrary to s. 267(b) of the Criminal Code. Rasheed and his friend, Sulyman, were in Sulyman’s apartment with an unnamed woman in the early hours of November 9, 2019. After having a joint and a few shots of tequila, the two men got involved in an altercation with each other. Rasheed struck Sulyman, and Sulyman suffered a fractured nose, swollen eye, chipped tooth, along with multiple lacerations on his face. The degree to which the complainant suffered was sufficient to constitute bodily harm, as the complainant’s quality of life was severely impacted by his injuries.

In their decision, the Court considered several factors, such as the credibility and reliability of the testimonies of both parties. Sulyman’s account was found to be credible, while Rasheed’s account was found to have too many inconsistencies. In addition, Rasheed also raised the defence of self-defence, as his aggression was a retaliation to a slap by Sulyman. However, the Court found the continuation of Rasheed beating Sulyman in response to a slap to be disproportional and unreasonable. Rasheed was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm.

R. v. Aguiar, 2022 ONCJ 621

In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Aguiar, the accused was charged with assaulting his son. The defendant raised the defence of section 43 of the Criminal Code, stating that a parent or schoolteacher may use force to correct a child if the force was not unreasonable under the circumstances. The complainant was nine years old at the time, and 11 years old at the time of his testimony. The altercation occurred after the Complainant was jumping on the couch, an activity the complainant knew was forbidden to him. Catching the complainant, the accused suspended the complainant off the couch, before banging his head on the wall ten times. The issue was whether this was an assault, and whether the actions of the accused were justified under s. 43 of the Criminal Code.

In their analysis, the Court agreed that what the accused did to the complainant constituted as assault. During his evidence and cross-examination, the accused’s reason for his response towards the Complainant was that the complainant had a broken collarbone that needed nursing. The Court, however, found that this was inconsistent with the severity of the force. The defendant was found guilty of assault.

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.