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Defend Assault Charges

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Our Experience

In R. v. Y.W. [2022], the Firm represented a client charged with assault with a weapon, assault and uttering death threats after allegedly threatening his intimate partner with a kitchen knife and hitting her during an argument. The Firm secured a withdrawal of all three charges after several months of Crown negotiations by presenting evidence to show the accused had taken steps to address the issues that led to his arrest. The defence also presented exculpatory evidence which weakened the Crown theory of his involvement.

In 2022, Donich Law successfully defended an individual charged with assault and assault with a weapon in R. v. S.Y. [2022]. The accused was arrested after getting into an altercation with her ex-partner and allegedly hitting him while holding a phone. The incident was reported to law enforcement by an unrelated third-party who witnessed the incident. After providing context to the alleged incident to the Crown, the Firm was able to secure a withdrawal of all charges.

In R. v. J.D. [2021], Donich Law successfully had charges of assault and assault with a weapon withdrawn after the accused was charged for pushing his girlfriend while holding a knife. Sometimes when law enforcement arrives at the scene, the complainant can be very emotional and embellish the facts. Once the accused gets to court several months later and reviews the evidence, the defence can cross-examine the complainant on these inconsistencies.

In R. v. A.M. [2021], Donich Law defended an individual charged with the assault, assault causing bodily harm, and choking of his same-sex domestic partner, resolving the matter by way of a peace bond using affidavit evidence after nine months of negotiations. The defence team worked with independent legal counsel for the complainant after reviewing all evidence. Having chocking charges withdrawn is difficult because of their serious nature. Without a strong theory of the defence, there is a high probability that the proceeding will go to trial.

In R. v. A.R. [2021], Donich Law represented an accused charged with assault on his domestic partner while intoxicated. Working with the complainant’s legal counsel, counsel presented a united defence resulting in the Crown requesting the withdrawal of the charges. Alcohol consumption is common in domestic assault proceedings. If there are concerns about substance abuse, the accused will likely have to show efforts of rehabilitation if they are seeking a very lenient outcome. Combining a legal defence with addressing any underlying issues is how complicated charges are defeated.

In the 2022 case of R. v. G.S. [2022], the Firm represented an accused charged with one count of assault, ultimately resolving the matter without a criminal record. The accused was charged after pulling on the arm of a small child in her care, causing the child to fall and injure herself. Upon initial review of the file, the Crown sought a period custody. The Firm utilized a forensic risk assessment of the accused to achieve the favourable end result.

Jail Sentences for Assault Charges in Canada

Donich Law - Assault Punishments

Assault is a crime that is prosecutable. After an altercation, the police may charge the parties with assault. A convicted assault stays on the criminal record. In the year 2021, there were 4992 non-sexual assaults in the Peel Region. In the year 2022, there was a total of 21 217 cases of assault in Toronto; 14,698 of which are simple assault, and 3,896 of which are assault with a weapon.

In R. v. B.W. [2021], Donich Law defended a client charged with assault, assault with a weapon, uttering death threats, and forcible confinement. By exposing inconsistencies in the complainant’s story, the Firm helped the client secure a verdict of not guilty on all but one charge and a discharge on this final charge after trial. Given the number of charges, the defence was required to proceed to trial. The Crown was not willing to offer a resolution without a criminal record, so the defence was forced to run a trial where it exposed weaknesses in the case.

In R. v. P.C. [2020], the firm secured the withdrawal of an assault charge laid on a permanent resident who pulled a kitchen knife on his spouse, protecting his accountant license and immigration status. Being charged when immigrating to Canada can complicate the process because fingerprints and photographs will be taken. If the charges are dropped, it is possible to later destroy these records so there is no adverse impact on Citizenship.

How to Defend Assault Charges

In R. v. W.V. [2017], Donich Law secured the withdrawal of an assault with a weapon charge against a woman who caused lacerations on her boyfriend’s head by throwing a hot pizza at him. Believe it or not, any object used when committing an assault can be treated as a weapon. The problem for the accused, is that their record will always show a weapon offence irrespective of the object. So, it is important to resolve these charges carefully given the adverse inference which will be made from the charge, whether that be during a record check or travelling.

In 2022, the Firm successfully defended an individual charged with one count of assault in R. v. G.S. [2022]. The client was arrested and charged after grabbing a young child in her care by the arm, causing the child to lose balance and fall over, injuring her mouth. Due to the age of the complainant the Crown initially sought a period of custody for the accused. The Firm utilized a formal risk assessment to prove that the client was low risk to reoffend. The Firm negotiated with the Crown and engaged in Crown and judicial pre-trials for more than two years before resolving the matter without a criminal record.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Common Bail Conditions in Mississauga

In Mississauga, it is likely that an accused’s bail conditions will be similar to in other jurisdictions. Bail conditions are orders that the accused must follow. In exchange, the accused may stay outside of jail, but any violation of these can result in a penalty. These conditions can be found in the bail papers. One of the main bail conditions that an accused will face would be a no contact order. This is an order where the accused has no communication directly or indirectly with the complainant. Indirect contact includes sending a message through any third party including mutual contacts or social media. The accused must also notify the Officer in Charge (OIC) of any changes to their address/place of employment. Another possible bail condition is a weapons prohibition, banning possession of firearms, crossbows, and even knives.

Can a No Contact Order be Placed on a Married Couple? What is Written Revocable Consent?

Yes, no contact orders can happen to married couples as well. No contact orders apply to any domestic assault charge. Even if the residence in Mississauga is owned by the accused, the accused will be removed until the no contact order is lifted. The family situation does not matter.

No contact orders may be lifted by written revocable consent. Usually, this is the only way a no contact order can be lifted while the case is ongoing. Written revocable consent is declared by the complainant of the domestic assault case. After some time has passed, the complainant of the case may wish to have contact again and may written consent to the officer in charge of the case. This means that no contact order is lifted. However, this is revocable at any time, even verbally. If the victim wishes, they may, at any time through speech or written word, render the written revocable consent null. The no contact order is then put back in place, and the accused must comply.

What If Both Couples Own Their Residence?

In the case that both the accused and the complainant owned the residence, the accused must still follow the no contact order. The accused may no longer stay at the residence for the safety of the victim. Even if the house belongs to the accused and the accused has complete ownership over the house, the accused still must leave the premises for the time being. However, this does not mean the accused has no more responsibilities to the property—bills and mortgages still must be paid.

Under these circumstances, it may be advisable to retain both a family lawyer and a criminal lawyer. A family lawyer may be able to help in the management of assets as well as other related legal matters such as custody of children or visitation rights. The family court and the criminal court will often look towards each other for guidance.

What Are the Different Types of Assault?

There are several different types of assault in Mississauga. Regular assault, or simple assault, is when a person without the consent of another person, applies force to them. This also applies to threats of an application of force, or any action that causes the other person to believe an assault was about to occur. Choking is also an offence under s. 267(c) of the Criminal Code. Choking occurs when someone attempts to choke or suffocate a person or when they attempt to choke or suffocate another person. Choking is a serious offence and carried serious penalties. Assault causing bodily harm is contained in section 267 as well and involves bodily harm that is not transient.

Assault with a weapon is when someone, while openly wearing or carrying a weapon (or an imitation of a weapon), they approach or block another person’s movement. This also applies to situation of begging or panhandling. In R v. Guzzo, 2007 ONSC 36639 (CanLII), the accused threatened his ex-girlfriend while brandishing a steak knife. In addition, he revealed a handgun on his person. He was charged with assault with a weapon, even though the weapon was not actually used.

Aggravated assault is assault that wounds, maims, disfigures, or endangers the life of the complainant. This is different from aggravating circumstances, which are situations that accentuates the severity and culpability of a criminal act. This may result in harsher sentencing. These circumstances include but are not limited to, assaulting a public transit operator, assaulting a peace officer, or sexual violence.

Is There a Limit to Victim’s Input?

Unlike in civil cases, victims have little say to what happens in a criminal assault case. Once the offender has been charged, the case becomes a case for the Crown, and the government represents the victim. The case is then stylized as R. v. Accused. There is usually input from the victim regarding contact and the no contact order.

If the accused pleads guilty, the Crown will consult with the victim regarding sentencing. At sentencing, the victim is allowed a victim impact statement detailing how their life has been affected by the assault. This may describe physical or emotional harm, property damage, or economic loss. This victim impact statement cannot be used to disparage or slander the accused. A victim impact statement is not the ultimate decider for a sentence. At the end of the day, the sentence is up to the Court and the Crown.

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Recent Cases

R. v. Gidharry, 2022 ONSC 2270

In the Ontario Superior Court case of R. v. Gidharry, the accused was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and assault with a weapon. The defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and the carrying of concealed weapons. Armed with two samurai swords and a dagger, the accused slashed the victim, the manager of the bakery he worked at.

The victim had sustained multiple severe injuries as a result of the altercation. After hearing the testimony of the victim, the Court found Mr. Gidharry guilty of aggravated assault. The Court also found Mr. Gidharry guilty of attempted murder, as the accused was judged to have the intention to murder the victim.

R. v. Moses, 2023 ONCJ 165

In the Ontario Superior Court case of R. v. Moses, the accused was charged with aggravated assault. After an attack by the victim, R.H., Mr. Moses struck her with a bottle. R.H. sustained injuries that met the criteria of aggravated assault. The issue was whether Mr. Moses acted in self-defence, as he retaliated after three punches to his head.

In their analysis, the court considered several factors including but not limited to: reasonable belief of threat; the nature of the force/threat; the imminency of the force or potential use of force; the person’s role; the presence of weapons; the parties’ histories; the size, age, gender, and physical capabilities of the parties; and the proportionality of the response.  R.H.’s punches towards Mr. Moses were weak and did not knock Mr. Moses “off balance or affect him significantly.” The Court also noted retreat as a possible option. Instead of retreating, however, Mr. Moses retaliated by hitting R.H. with a bottle. Given that the retaliation with the bottle was not proportional, the Court found that Mr. Moses was guilty of aggravated assault.

R. v. Rudkin, 2022 ONSC 375

In the Ontario Superior Court case of R. v. Rudkin, the accused was charged with aggravated assault. Rudkin was charged with wounding her daughter, who had suffered a laceration on her forehead. The issue is whether the Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Rudkin intentionally injured her daughter.

During the trial, the court called in an expert witness in pediatric maltreatment. The expert witness, Dr. Schwartz, explained that the injury to the child could have been caused by blunt force impact, which matches Rudkin’s testimony of the child falling from a high chair. However, the judge could not accept Rudkin’s testimony as it was too inconsistent regarding her location during the time of the incident, as well as which surface the child’s head hit. The judge ruled that the accident explanation was reasonable, and the charge against the accused was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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.