R. v. Doerr, 2023 ONSC 2525
In the Ontario Superior Court case of R. v. Doerr, the accused was engaged in a bar fight at Jack’s Bar in London, Ontario. After the altercation, the accused was charged with one count of aggravated assault.
Mr. Doerr claimed self-defence. In determining whether or not self-defence was a valid defence for the accused, the court considered a list of factors which includes but are not limited to: the nature of the force or threat; whether there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force; the person’s role in the incident; whether any party used or threatened to use a weapon; the parties’ histories; the size, age, gender, and physical capabilities of the parties; the nature and proportionality of the person’s response to the use or threat of force, etc. In determining the appropriate sentence for Mr. Doerr, the court determined the three requirements for self-defence: (1) reasonable belief that force or threat of force is being used; (2) the presence of a defensive purpose, and; (3) reasonable response. The Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that at least one element does not exist.
R. v. Morello, 2022 ONCJ 371
In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Morello, the complainant was the accused’s girlfriend, Megan Charette. They were in an unhealthy intimate partner relationship, full of turmoil, emotional and physical abuse, accusations of criminal behaviour, and mistrust. The altercation started when Charette took Morello’s phone, and Morello threw her to the ground. A camera captured this incident. Charette did not report this assault until two months later, due to a fear of involvement with the Children’s Aid Society, as her youngest son Chase was living with them at the time.
When considering witness testimony, the Court hinged its decision on R. v. W (D),  1 S.C.R. 742. The framework for determining a witness’ credibility was outlined as such: (1) if the defence evidence is accepted, the accused must be acquitted (2) if there is a reasonable doubt left that the accused could be innocent, the accused must be acquitted and (3) if the Crown “met its high burden and proven beyond a reasonable doubt all the essential elements of the offences against the defendant.”
The complainant’s testimony was called into question, and Ms. Charette was found to have been misleading and dishonest. Upon examination of the video, the Court was left with a reasonable doubt that Morello applied force to Charette intentionally, as she may have fallen on the ground herself. This resulted in an acquittal.
R. v. Nelson, 2022 ONCJ 634
In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Nelson, the accused struck the complainant two times in the face, after which she fell back on the floor, unconscious. After attempting to help her briefly, Nelson left the scene. The complainant suffered a fractured jaw, a broken tooth, as well as bumps and bruises. The defendant was charged with assault causing bodily harm. The Crown sought the maximum summary sentence for assault causing bodily harm: imprisonment of 18 months followed by a two year probation order.
In their analysis, the Court considered several mitigating and aggravating factors. Mitigating factors included remorse, a lack of a prior criminal record, community support, and employment. Aggravating factors included the extent of the assault, the injuries suffered, the duration of the harm caused, and the impact the assault had on the complainant. The altercation happened at a time when the defendant and the complainant were in an intimate relationship, in the complainant’s home; the complainant continues to suffer psychological harm as a result of the assault. The defendant was found guilty, and subject to 12 months’ imprisonment.