In Canada, variations of sexual assault are taken very seriously be the criminal justice system, reflected in the potentially strict punishments attaching to it and the long-standing such attention draws from authorities.
Newmarket’s criminal courthouse is located at 50 Eagle Street W., Newmarket ON L3Y 6B1. To reach someone about a Criminal Youth charge through the Ontario Court of Justice, call 905-853-4801. To reach someone about a Criminal charge through the Superior Court of Justice, call 905-853-4801. Finally, to reach someone about a Criminal charge through the Ontario Court of Justice, call 905-853-4801. The Crown Attorney for Newmarket can be reached by telephone 905-853-4800 or by fax at 905-853-4849. Ontario Victim Services for Newmarket can be reached by telephone at 905-853-4818 or reached by fax at 905-853-4883. The courthouse in Newmarket holds office hours that generally take place from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
In Newmarket, there were 69 recorded incidents of sexual violations in 2016. This number rose in 2017 to 75. Newmarket saw an 8.7% increase in incidents of sexual violations from 2016 to 2017. Looking for information about an upcoming court appearance? Access daily court lists here.
Our Firm is exceedingly experienced in dealing with a large range of sexual assault allegations ranging from Voyeurism, to Sexual Interference, to Sexual Exploitation and Internet Luring, Incest and Child Pornography. Many of our recent successful cases are summarized here.
The Firm is experienced in and has been successful in defending and prosecuting Civil Actions of historical sexual assault. There is potential for such allegations to arise in the context of criminal proceedings. These types of Civil Actions often seek damages over $1 million. Such cases face similar challenges associated with criminal defence, making the Firm equipped and prepared to handle such allegations.
The Firm also handles a wide range of sexual assault allegations ranging from offences against children to high profile sex offences in Newmarket. The Firm has defended charges of Sexual Assault, Sexual Interference, Voyeurism, Internet Luring, Incest, Sexual Exploitation, Child Pornography and other similar sex offences in Newmarket.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Sexual Assault?
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.
Sexual Assault Charges & Penalties
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.
Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases
It is simply in the nature of sexual assault cases to be based on relatively scarce evidence. Sexual acts in general tend to take place in private; assault claims may be further clouded by an intoxicated complainant, accused, or both. It is very common for sexual assaults not leave direct physical evidence. This means that there is some truth to the idea that litigation over sexual assault claims does come down to what the accused and the complainant have to say about what happened, with the courts basing their decisions on the credibility and consistency of the parties’ stories. However, the absence of external evidence is by no means fatal to such charges, and that in and of itself does not preclude charges being brought or a conviction being sustained. Complainant testimony is in and of itself a form of evidence, one which can be very persuasive. Very often, these cases turn on the resolution of conflicts between the testimony of the complainant and of the accused.
Because of this, when you are thinking about consulting with a criminal lawyer on a sexual assault charge, you need to find one who not only knows how the law works, but knows how to persuade prosecutors, judges, and juries of the truth of your testimony. We have experience persuading and winning all the way up to trial, including in 2016, when we appeared on behalf of the accused in R v DN, securing a full acquittal on all counts relating to an assault of a child ten years prior.
Section 487 and DNA Evidence
One way that the prosecution can find “hard evidence” is through section 487 of the Criminal Code. Prior to trial, the crown can apply to a judge to allow the police to take DNA from an individual for the purposes of forensic DNA analysis, allowing them to better match perpetrators to crimes. While this may be an effective tool, it is also imperfect, and represents a potentially serious intrusion into the subject’s privacy.
Following a conviction, discharge, or finding of not criminally responsible, section 487 allows the Crown to obtain samples of DNA evidence from the accused in order to assist them with handling future cases and identify perpetrators going forward.
Procedure in Sexual Assault Cases
Some rules of procedure and evidence differ in sexual assault cases. Defendants are more restricted in their lawyers’ cross-examinations of complainants, and there are more stringent limits on the use of evidence about the complainant than in other areas of law. As such, we consider it particularly important to hire a lawyer who knows all of this well, and who is experienced not only in defending criminal charges, but defending sexual assault charges in particular. We believe that we fit the bill perfectly. We have defended a range of sexual assault charges of various severity, complexity, and publicity.
If your case has already or is likely to become public knowledge, we have worked in these environments before. In 2016, we helped secure the withdrawal of nine sex crime charges against a Toronto Transit driver accused of nine crimes. Previously, we helped defend against charges in one of Toronto’s largest child pornography busts.
If you fear that any of the above applies, to you, our criminal law team would be happy to help. We defend people charged with sexual assault in Newmarket and throughout Ontario. A member of our team of Newmarket criminal lawyers would be happy to speak to you about maximizing your opportunities for a successful defence. You can reach one of them at 416-DEFENCE, or at [email protected] to discuss our services in Newmarket and beyond.