If you live in London and someone you know is facing an assault charge, you likely have some idea of what this involves. However, you may want to find out more information before you decide on what to do, which is why we have tried our best to lay out the basics here for you.
Clients seeking criminal law representation have brought us to courthouses throughout the province, including in London. If you reach out to us via phone or email, we would be happy to arrange an initial consultation, and if we can meet your needs, to act on your behalf in London.
The London courthouse that hears criminal matters is located at 80 Dundas St., London ON, N6A 6A3. The Criminal Superior Court of Justice can be reached at 519-66-3000. The Criminal Ontario Court of Justice can be reached at 519-660-3013. The London court’s office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Other courthouses nearby include St. Thomas, Exeter, Stratford and Woodstock.
To locate information regarding an upcoming court appearance, click here. From 2010 to 2015, the number of assaults recorded by the London Police decreased from 2010 to 2014. From 2014 to 2016, the London Police recorded a slight increase. In 2016, there were 1,552 actual incidents of assault in London, Ontario.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Assault?
What are penalties for assaults?
What is Sexual Assault
What are Peace Bonds?
What is Common Law Peace Bonds
What are the Consequences of Breaching Peace Bonds, Undertakings, and Recognizances?
Assault is defined in section 265(1) of the Criminal Code to include three scenarios:
- When a person intentionally applies force to another person, either directly or indirectly, without their consent.
- An act or gesture will constitute an assault if (1) a person’s uses such an act or gesture to attempt or threaten to apply force to another person and (2) if this causes the other person to believe on reasonable grounds that the alleged attacker has the present ability to effect his purpose; or
- When a person accosts or impedes another person or begs, while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof.
In particular, it is important to note that the first definition requires that the alleged victim did not consent. What constitutes this consent in any given scenario can vary greatly under the circumstances, particularly when (as is common) alcohol or drugs are involved.
Many other charges in Canadian criminal law are derived from this basic definition of assault, and they tend to have even more substantial penalties associated with them.
Penalties for assaults are very context-dependant; who committed an assault, who it was committed against, their motivations, and the presence of any “aggravating” or “mitigating” factors, can all affect the penalty imposed. In the most serious cases, assault can result in terms of imprisonment of up to five years; however, cases resulting in extended prison sentences tend to fall under one of these more serious charges below.
Charges premised on an assault, along with another consideration making the case more serious, include Assault with a Weapon (an assault in which the accused carried, used, or threatened to use a weapon or imitation of a weapon during the commission), Assault Causing Bodily Harm (an assault resulting in any interference with health or comfort that is more than “transitory or trifling”), Aggravated Assault (an assault that results in the disfigurement, maiming, or endangering the life of the complainant), and Domestic Assault (assaults occurring in the context of an “intimate relationship”, which is notably not restricted to marriage).
Sexual Assault is also premised on assault, but the circumstances in which it is alleged to have occurred vary greatly from most assaults, and so we have included our own page for sexual assaults charges in London.
In section 271 of the Criminal Code, the offence of Sexual Assault is outlined. It describes it as an assault that is sexual in nature which also violates the sexual integrity of the victim. Section 272 outlines Sexual Assault with a Weapon, Threats to a Third Party or Causing Bodily. Section 272 outline Aggravated Sexual Assault.
There are three different sexual assault charges outlined by the Criminal Code. The charges outlined in the Criminal Codeare: section 271 Sexual Assault, section 272 Sexual Assault with a Weapon, Threats to a Third Party or causing bodily harm and section 273 Aggravated Sexual Assault.
Individuals charged with assault often face Peace Bonds issued by a court. By issuing Peace Bonds, courts can require people charged with a crime to keep the peace and be “of good behaviour” for a specified period of time. “Good Behaviour” essentially means avoiding being charged of any criminal offences, as well as obeying any other conditions attached to the order (for example, avoiding the home of the complainant or abstaining from possessing any weapons, ammunition, or explosives).
Section 810 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides the basis for many peace bonds issued by Canadian courts. They can be issued for a period of up to one year.
Under Section 810 of the Criminal Code, peace bonds may be ordered where an information is laid before a justice or on behalf of any person who fears on reasonable grounds that another may cause them physical harm to themselves, their children, or their spouse, or fears that the subject of the bond will damage their property. Under that section of the bond, they include some necessary restrictions, as well as specified punishments for breaching them.
If you have been made subject to a peace bond, note that you will not be subject to a criminal record, although the bond may still show up on any checks while it is active, and criminal consequences giving rise to a record can come about if your bond is breached.
Common Law Peace Bonds
In addition to the “statutory” peace bonds discussed above, there are also “common law” peace bonds, based on rules developed by the courts without having been explicitly passed by the Canadian Government.
In contrast to a section 810 Peace Bond, there are no time limitations or necessary conditions imposed “by the book”, and so their conditions may vary more widely.
Consequences of Breaching Peace Bonds, Undertakings, and Recognizances
Breaches of a section 810 Peace Bond may result in monetary penalties, if such penalties are specified in the bond. Even if an agreement with the crown including an undertaking or recognizance would not have resulted in a criminal record for the initial charges, a conviction for failure to comply can. A conviction for failure to comply can also result in a penalty of up to two years’ imprisonment.
If you are in London and are facing any of the charges discussed above, or if you have been placed or think you may be placed under a Peace Bond, please consider reaching out to us at 416-DEFENCE, or at [email protected] . One of our London Criminal Lawyers can provide you with the information you need to understand any of the above issues, as well as the advocacy you need to help minimize their impact on your life.