Our firm has a particularly extensive history of defending clients accused of sexual assault. Such charges are particularly stressful for the accused; not only are such charges pursued vigorously and carry stiff penalties, but they are also taken particularly seriously in the court of public opinion. This is why we always aim to resolve such matters as quickly and as quietly as circumstances allow.
In this post, we hope to summarize the experience of our team of Milton criminal lawyers, and to offer you a glimpse at the success we have brought previous clients.
In Halton, which includes Milton, the number of recorded sexual assaults has risen from 125 incidents in 2016 to 168 incidents in 2017. Halton has seen a 48.8 percent increase in the number of recorded sexual assault from 2016-2017.
Milton’s criminal courthouse is located at 491 Steeles Ave E., Milton ON L9T 1Y7. To contact someone regarding Criminal Youth cases at the Ontario Court of Justice call 905-878-4165. To contact someone regarding Criminal cases at the Ontario Court of Justice, call 905-878-4165.
To contact someone regarding criminal cases heard by the Superior Court of Justice, call 905-878-4165. To speak to someone in person, this can be done at the Milton Courthouse where office hours are generally Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Looking for more information about your upcoming court appearance in Milton? Access daily court lists here.
Sexual Assault Charges & Penalties
In Canada, in order for there to have been a sexual assault, the accused must have assaulted the victim. 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.
Secondly, the assault must have been of a sexual nature and violated the sexual integrity of the victim. According to the Supreme Court of Canada, the following considerations are relevant when making this determination:
- The part of the body touched;
- The nature of the contact;
- The situation in which it occurred;
- The words and gestures accompanying the act;
- All other circumstances surrounding the conduct, including threats which may or may not be accompanied by force.
- The accused’s intent or purpose as well as his motive, if such motive is sexual gratification, may also be factors in considering whether the conduct is sexual.
Penalties for sexual assault are determined on the basis of the specific situation, particularly, the presence of any aggravating or mitigating factors. The punishment will depend on which of the three primary categories the assault falls into, listed here in order of escalating severity:
- Section 271 – Sexual Assault (encompasses all assaults of a sexual nature violating the sexual integrity of the victim not covered by the other two provisions).
Where the crown proceeds by indictment, this has a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment; where the victim is a child, it includes a minimum penalty of one-year’s imprisonment. Where the crown proceeds summarily, the maximum penalty is eighteen-months’ imprisonment. In that case, there is a 90-day minimum term of imprisonment where the victim is a child.
- Section 272 – Sexual Assault with a Weapon, Threats to a Third Party or Causing Bodily Harm can arise in four situations when a person who while committing a sexual assault, also does one of the following:
- (a) Carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation of a weapon;
- (b) Threatens to cause bodily harm to a person other than the complainant;
- (c) Causes bodily harm to the complainant; or
- (d) Is a party to the offence with any other person.
In this case, the maximum prison term is ten years’ imprisonment. Minimum sentences attach for offences that involve firearms, are committed in relation to a criminal association, are subsequent offences or that involve a complainant under the age of sixteen.
- Section 273 – Aggravated Sexual Assault occurs when an accused, in committing a sexual assault, wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.
In this case, there is a maximum imprisonment term of life. Where the offence involves firearms, is committed in relation to a criminal association, or involve a complainant under the age of sixteen, minimum sentences apply, as the case may be.
Our Experience in Handling Sexual Assault Claims
Our experience includes, among other matters:
- Defending a client accused of rape and sexual assault allegations ranging back almost 40 years in R v MM
- Defending an allegation of incest against a father alleged to have occurred in the 1980s in the case R v WC
Recently, we have secured the withdrawal of charges in a number of cases, including in:
- R v RK, in which we defended a Jehovah’s Witness accused of sexual assault
- R v JP, in which we secured a withdrawal of sexual interference allegations
- R v KC, in which we represented a student accused of two counts of sexual assault that later turned out to have been fabricated, resulting in the withdrawal of all charges.
- R v JS, in which we represented a Canada Post employee alleged to have sexually assaulted a co-worker following two years of litigation
While we try to ensure that are cases are resolved quickly and discretely, without the need for media attention or a trial. We sometimes even work with the police prior to charges being laid, hoping to weed out allegations before charges are even laid. Where possible, this is the perfect solution for ourselves and the police: it avoids the at-time indelible social stigma associated with sexual assault charges, and saves the police’s time. This approach is particularly helpful for doctors, physiotherapists, care-givers, and other professionals who, by the nature of their work, face elevated risks of being arrested at work.
However, while we hope to resolve these matters quietly, we are also experienced at handling high-profile sexual assault cases and cases that go to trial. For example:
- We secured a withdrawal of charges lain in R v DN against a TTC Driver accused of a total of nine sex crimes
- In R v DN, we acted on behalf of a client accused of sexual assault, sexual interference, and invitation to Sexual Touching where the accused was alleged to have sexual assaulted a child ten years before the hearing. In that case, following a three-day trial, we were able to secure an acquittal on all counts
- In R v PW, we successfully defended our client after he was alleged to have sexually assaulted his daughter, securing a withdrawal of all charges
In R v EG, we defenced the accused in one of the largest child pornography busts in Toronto history. The police seized over 500,000 images and 600 videos of the sexual abuse of children that had been shared over encrypted communications. In that case, our criminal law group confronted the police force’s investigation techniques, production orders, and decoding process head-on.
In our experience, even law-abiding citizens can find themselves faced with allegations of sexual misconduct, particularly in the context of relationship or marital disputes.
In all cases, your reputation is our number-one priority. We have developed our skills taking on cases in Toronto, where our team of criminal lawyers is headquartered. However, we also represent people charged with sexual assault and other crimes throughout the province, including in Milton. We strongly believe that your best option when faced with charges of sexual assault is to reach out to an experienced Toronto criminal lawyer.
If you want to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome, consider reaching out to our team at 416-DEFENCE, or at [email protected] to discuss our services in Milton and beyond.