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Defend Assault Charges

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Our Experience

In 2022, Donich Law represented an accused charged with assault, assault with a weapon and uttering death threats in R. v. Y.W. [2022]. The accused was arrested after his domestic partner alleged he had assaulted her and threatened her with a kitchen knife during an argument. The Firm negotiated with the Crown for several months to demonstrate that the accused had addressed the underlying issues that led to his alleged offences. When dealing with weapon offences, you generally need something more than upfront work. The defence also produced video evidence which proved the accused didn’t actually use the knife and that it was the complainant who suggested he would. Ultimately, the Firm secured a withdrawal of all charges.

In 2022, Donich Law represented an individual charged with one count of assault with a weapon and one count of simple assault in R. v. S.Y. [2022]. The client was arrested after allegedly assaulting her ex-partner during an argument. The accused was holding a cell phone in one hand during the alleged assault, leading to an assault with a weapon charge. The Firm negotiated with the Crown to provide context to the situation, ultimately leading to a withdrawal of the charges. The evidence showed that the complainant was provoked which was mitigating to the circumstances surrounding the offence.

In 2021, the Firm successfully represented a client charged with assault with a weapon, 2 counts of assault, uttering death threats and forcible confinement in R. v. B.W. [2021]. After two years of litigation the Firm successfully advanced a self-defence argument at trial, pointing out material inconsistences in the complainant’s version of events. Self-defence arguments often require a trial because the police do not necessarily collect all relevant evidence. Many times its the accused’s lawyer who hears their side of the case first and determines whether there is merit to a self-defence argument. Complainant’s also need to be cross-examined at trial because they will often withhold some of the incriminating elements of the events to the arresting officer.

In 2021, the Firm defended an individual charged with assault and assault with a weapon in R. v. J.D. [2021]. The accused was alleged to have brandished a knife and pushed his partner during an argument. The Firm resolved the matter without a criminal record for the accused by securing the withdrawal of both charges. When dealing with allegations of assault involving a weapon, it is important to have a strong theory for the case because of the public interest in prosecuting these charges.

In 2021, the Firm successfully defended an accused charged with indecent communications, false information and criminal harassment in R. v. B.K. [2021]. The client in that case was alleged to have used a fake Instagram account to send messages to a mutual friend of his ex-partner, indicating that his ex-partner wished to engage in sex acts with the mutual friend. The mutual friend alerted the complainant who reported the matter to police. Law enforcement used the accused’s IP address to link him to the messages. The Firm negotiated the matter for more than one year, exploiting weaknesses in the Crown’s case and ultimately resolving the matter without a criminal record.

In 2021, the Firm successfully defended an individual charged with domestic assault in R. v. A.R. [2021]. The accused was alleged to have slapped his partner in the face during an argument about their young child. The complainant retained independent legal counsel to assist her in getting the no contact order put in place by the court removed. After presenting a unified defence with the complainant’s independent counsel, the Firm secured the withdrawal of the charge.

Jail Sentences for Assault Charges in Canada

Donich Law - Assault Punishments

In 2019, the York Regional Police reported 4,434 cases of assault, and 4,354 cases in 2020. This is a huge increase in comparison to 3,426 assaults in 2016. This meant that over five years, the rate of assaults increased by 27.1%. 6,131 cases in 2020 are intimate and domestic related occurrences, 30.3% of which had charges laid. Assault can be a serious and violent crime with the consequence of jail time. When charged with assault, it is important to retain a lawyer as soon as possible.

In 2020, the Firm defended an individual charged with choking, assault causing bodily harm and assault in R. v. A.M. [2020]. The accused was charged after allegedly choking and striking his domestic partner in the face several times. The Firm was able to resolve the matter without a criminal record for the accused by way of a peace bond. Choking charges are not easy to resolve with a peace bond, they usually require some form of tactical weakness with the case given there are often visible injuries. The Firm established this with independent legal counsel for the victim.

In 2015, the Firm secured the withdrawal of an assault charge laid against the President of the Martial Arts Team competing in the Pan Am Games in R. v. J.F. [2015]. The offence was improperly motivated and happened in the arena during the games in Toronto. In April of 2016, the Firm resolved an assault causing bodily harm charge, without a criminal record, where the accused fractured the zygomatic bone of the complainant. After three years of litigation the Firm was able to prove that the complainant had sexually harassed the accused’s girlfriend prior to the altercation in its R. v. R.S. [2016].

How to Defend Assault Charges

In 2022, the Firm successfully represented an accused charged with assault in R. v. G.S. [2022]. The client was arrested after she used too much force while redirecting a young child, causing the child to fall and injure her mouth. The Crown initially sought a period of incarceration, citing the young age of the child. After more than two years of negotiation, the Firm ultimately resolved the matter without a criminal record for the accused, utilizing a formal risk assessment.

In 2023, the Firm successfully represented an individual charged with assault – choking and assault in R. v. J.S. [2023]. The client was arrested and charged after getting into an altercation with his girlfriend in a parking lot. An individual who witnessed the incident from across the parking lot called police and reported the incident. The police attended the scene and arrested the client. The Firm engaged in approximately two years of negotiations with the Crown, completing a significant amount of upfront work. The charges were ultimately withdrawn.

In 2024, the Firm successfully represented an individual charged with breach of probation and criminal harassment in R. v. A.C. [2024]. The accused was alleged to have sent repeated harassing messages to the complainant over social media and was arrested after a production order for the account used was linked to his IP address. The Firm was able to exploit several serious weaknesses in the Crown’s case, including that the police were unable to gain access to many of the devices seized from the accused. After significant Crown delay, the Firm launched an 11(b) Charter challenge, and the Crown ultimately withdrew all the charges against the accused.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Change My Bail Conditions in Newmarket?

Bail conditions can be different from person to person in Newmarket. A lawyer may assist their client in applying for bail variation. However, this is a very difficult process, requiring the agreement of the Crown and sometimes a judge. Part and parcel to the bail conditions, a no contact order will not change unless the circumstances have become different. The passage of time, the display of remorse, and psychological help can all contribute to lifting a no contact order. The complainant must provide input that they are no longer scared of the accused and have provided written revocable consent. Usually, the Court will not remove a no contact order, but vary or modify it according to the complainant’s written revocable consent.

What is a Peace Bond?

A peace bond is an order from the court that protects the victim and limits contact between the victim and the accused. It is a contract that the accused enters with the court, promising to keep the peace and be on good behaviour for a certain amount of time. There may be other ancillary conditions to the peace bond such as a weapons prohibition or a no contact order.

When entering a peace bond, a dollar amount is pledged to the court, to be paid upon the breach of the agreement with the court. With a peace bond, a charge may be withdrawn; the breaching of the peace bond may mean both monetary penalties and the return of the charge. Peace bonds are the lowest level of resolution, as the accused is not sentenced nor is the accused admitting guilt; however, the Court was not taking any civil liabilities either. The Crown will agree to a peace bond for minor offences.

There are two different types of peace bonds that can be applied for. One is made through a court order through section 810 of the Criminal Code. Another is the common law peace bond, made privately. Privately laid peace bonds do not require the police, and no charges are laid through private peace bonds. To get a private peace bond, one simply goes to court and applies for one.

What If I am Getting a Divorce and My Spouse Filed False Charges?

A complicated family situation may need court resolution. In the event of false charges, the accused still must go through some aspect of the court process. Domestic assault charges are serious allegations that require proof. If a person believes they have been falsely accused, they still must defend themselves and prove that the assault did not happen. Witness or complainant testimony is enough to charge the accused with assault. It is advisable to hire a lawyer and to keep any evidence that may assist you in court.

When the accused is charged with assault in Newmarket, regardless of whether they are convicted, for the complainant’s safety there will be a no contact order. This may make communication between spouses difficult. If any child(ren) were involved in the assault, the no contact order also applies to the child(ren). No contact orders for children may be lifted by the Family Court, while lifting a no contact order between spouses would often require written revocable consent. In situations like these, it is important to also hire a family lawyer.

What if There Are No Third-Party Witnesses? How Does the Court Decide Who to Believe in a He-Said-She-Said Case?

In a lot of assault cases in Newmarket and other jurisdictions, there are no third-party witnesses. Any witness, complainant or defendant testimony must be subject to the Court’s scrutiny and examination. The Court determines whether a testimony is credible and reliable. Credibility is determined based on whether the witness was lying, while reliability determines whether their memory is dependable. For example, if a witness has a drunk memory, they may not be credible or reliable. Every witness is evaluated on those two factors, while the judge decides whether their testimony can be admitted into evidence.

The principles for determining whether a testimony is credible and reliable was established in R. v. W (D), [1991] 1 S.C.R. 742. First, if the evidence of the accused is believable, an acquittal must be entered. Second, if the evidence of the accused was not believable, but still leaves the Court in reasonable doubt, an acquittal must be entered. Third, the Court must ask themselves if they believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. If not, the accused must be acquitted. This means that it is up to the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. These principles abide by the principles of fundamental justice in preventing the conviction of innocents.

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Recent Cases

R. v. Riopelle, 2023 ONCJ 151

In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Riopelle, Mr. Riopelle was charged with assault causing bodily harm after assaulting his 67-year old uncle, Mr. Bandy, without provocation, knocking out two of his teeth. The accused and the complainant are family that have had prior disagreements about inheritance concerning the Glenalee Mobile Home and Campground. Mr. Bandy was disinherited and attempted a legal action but failed. Mr. Bandy worked on the campground for most of his adult life and continued to do so even after the legal action. One day, while wearing ear protection and mowing the grass for a renter, Mr. Bandy was approached by Mr. Riopelle, who accused him of parking his car on his mother’s grass. Mr. Riopelle assaulted Mr. Bandy. As a result, Mr. Bandy had to have stitches, a partial plate fitted, as well as dental teeth replacements.

In their sentencing, the Court considered Mr. Riopelle’s pre-sentence report. The report indicated that Mr. Riopelle’s assault was out of character, and that he was generally a social, employed member of the community who was in a long-term relationship, abstained from alcohol, and had no mental health problems. The victim impact statement made by Mr. Bandy highlighted the psychological effects the assault had for him, filling him with anxiety and apprehension. After considering sentencing principles such as denunciation, deterrence, rehabilitation and protection of the community (as outlined in section 718 of the Criminal Code), the Court found Mr. Riopelle guilty of assault causing bodily harm. The defendant was sentenced to an eight month conditional sentence, three years’ probation, restitution, a weapons prohibition, and a DNA order.

R. v. Rudkin, 2022 ONSC 375

In the Ontario Superior Court case of R. v. Rudkin, a mother was charged with aggravated assault. Rudkin’s daughter had suffered a laceration on her forehead. To prove her guilty, the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Rudkin intentionally injured her daughter. The presence of intention is needed to convict an assault charge.

An expert witness in pediatric maltreatment and the identification and interpretation of childhood injury was called to the stand. Dr. Schwartz stated that the laceration on the forehead could have been caused by blunt force impact, matching Rudkin’s account of her child falling from a highchair. However, to accept Rudkin’s testimony, the judge must find it credible and reliable. The judge did not find Rudkin’s testimony credible nor reliable, as it had inconsistencies. The accident explanation that Rudkin provided, however, was reasonable enough under the circumstances. In addition, the Crown could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was guilty. Therefore, Rudkin was acquitted.

R. v. Cheema, 2022 ONCJ 632

In the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Cheema, Cheema pled guilty to one count of aggravated assault and two counts of driving dangerously causing bodily harm. Three teenage boys were struck by the accused’s vehicle. The three teenage boys were associated with accosting, assaulting, and robbing the accused and his 14-year-old cousin at the mall. The offender ran down the three boys while driving to leave the mall.

Several aggravating and mitigating factors were considered during the sentencing. Regret on the part of the offender, the offender’s guilty plea, the offender’s education and employment, as well as this being the offender’s first offence all contributed to the mitigating factors of the case. The judge emphasized the importance of rehabilitation for the offender. However, the complainants’ heavy injuries and the violent nature of the crime all contributed to a harsher sentence.

Aggravated assault is a primary designated offence pursuant to section 487.04 of the Criminal Code. Therefore, a DNA order was made. The offender was sentenced to a weapons prohibition for ten years along with a driving prohibition for five years. Due to the mitigating factors of the case and the aim for rehabilitation as the goal, the defendant was sentenced to a conditional sentence of 90 days, served on the weekends, for aggravated assault; as well as 22 months’ imprisonment served conditionally in the community for driving dangerously causing bodily harm.

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.