Frequently Asked Questions
What is Sexual Interference in Newmarket?
How to Beat Sexual Interference Charges in York Region?
Will I go to Jail for Sexual Interference?
What is a SOIRA Order?
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Children’s Aid Society
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Sex Offender Prohibition Orders
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
What is Sexual Interference?
In Canada, the offence of sexual interference is essentially a sexual assault on a minor. Section 151 of the Criminal Code outlines the offence. It states that an individual is guilty of the offence where they touch, either directly or indirectly, with a part of their body or an object, any part of the body of a minor. The touching must be for a sexual purpose, meaning the accused must have received some sort of sexual gratification from it. The accused must also have known that the complainant was a minor or have taken reasonable steps to ascertain the complainants real age. An individual who fails to take reasonable steps to ascertain the complainants age or was reckless or willfully blind as to the complainants age, will be guilty of sexual interference.
Individuals who are under the age of consent are legally unable to consent to sexual activity with an adult. As a result, any adult who engages in sexual activity with a minor will be guilty of a criminal offence. It is not relevant if the minor agreed to the sexual activity, or even that the minor initiated the sexual activity.
In the majority of cases, individuals are accused by a member of their family or someone they are closely connected to. In some cases, the minor’s parents or another member of their family will report the inappropriate relationship.
How to Beat a Sexual Interference Charge in York Region?
Sexual interference offences can be particularly difficult to defend due to the severity of the offence. Law enforcement, Crown attorneys and the Courts all devote considerable resources towards arresting and prosecuting those accused of committing sexual offences against children. The best defence to any sexual interference charge will always depend on the specifics of the allegations being made.
Defences commonly used to defend sexual interference offences in York Region include; arguing that the allegations have been fabricated, arguing that the accused lacked the necessary intent, arguing consent, and arguing that the accused genuinely believed the minor was over the age of consent.
In some situations, those who are charged with sexual interference are not guilty of the crimes they have been accused of. Where a complainant has been wrongfully accused of sexual interference it is important to understand what evidence the Crown has in its possession. Generally, where allegations are fabricated there will be no evidence other than the statement of the complainant. In these situations, the Crown may not have enough evidence to make their case and the accused will not be required to present any evidence to bolster their defence. In other situations, sexual interference cases can become he-said-she-said situations. In these scenarios, it may be preferable to offer evidence to the Court to explain why the allegations may have been fabricated by the complainant.
An individual accused of sexual interference may also argue that they lacked the necessary intent to be guilty of the offence. Sexual interference is a specific intent offence, meaning the accused must have intended to commit the offence to be guilty. Further, to be guilty of sexual interference, the accused’s physical contact with the complainant must have been for a sexual purpose. If the contact is not for a sexual purpose, the accused is not guilty of sexual interference. For example, an adult touching their child’s genitals while giving them a bath would not be considered sexual interference, because there is no sexual purpose to the touching.
Accused’s may also argue in some circumstances that they genuinely believed the complainant was over the age of consent. In Canada, the age of consent is sixteen years old. To advance this defence successfully, the accused must prove that they took reasonable steps to ascertain the true age of the complainant. The accused must not have acted recklessly or been willfully blind as to the true age of the complainant. If for example, a minor took elaborate steps to conceal their age, the accused will generally not be guilty of sexual interference.
In rare cases, an accused charged with sexual interference may be able to argue consent. While consent is generally not a defence to a sexual interference, since minors cannot consent to sexual activity with an adult, where the accused and complainant were close in age, consent may be a viable defence. If the accused is less than two years older than the complainant, consent may be valid. The Criminal Code states that a minor who is twelve or thirteen years old may consent to sexual activity with another individual who is within two years of their age and does not hold a position of trust or authority over the complainant.
If you have been charged with sexual interference, our Firm can assist you in developing the best strategy to defend the allegations. We have experience defending a wide array of sexual interference allegations in York Region and regularly achieve positive results for our clients.
Will I go to Jail for Sexual Interference?
In many cases, yes. Sexual interference is one of the most serious offences an individual can be charged with in Canada. As a result, those who are convicted are often sentenced to a period of incarceration. Whether or not an individual will be sentenced to a period of incarceration will depend on a variety of factors. One of the most important factors is the severity of the allegations being made.
Sexual interference is a dual procedure offence, meaning the Crown has discretion regarding the case’s path through the criminal justice system and the maximum penalties available if the accused is convicted. In cases involving more serious allegations, the Crown will generally proceed by indictment and in cases involving more minor allegations, the Crown will elect to proceed summarily. If the Crown proceeds by indictment the accused will face a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment. If the Crown proceeds summarily the accused will face a maximum penalty of two years less a day imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.
The Court will weigh all relevant aggravating the mitigating factors in the case to determine the most appropriate sentence if the accused is convicted. The Court will look at the specific facts of the case, the accused’s criminal history, the circumstances leading up to the offence, the relationship between the accused and the complainant and any other factors the Court deems relevant. In some cases, the victim will read a victim impact statement at sentencing which may also impact the sentence handed down by the Court.
What is a SOIRA Order?
In Canada, those who are convicted of certain sexual offences must register as a sex offender under the federal Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA). This allows the government to monitor the accused after their criminal sentence has expired, to ensure the accused does not reoffend. When an accused is convicted of certain sexual offences, including sexual interference, the Court will issue a SOIRA order, which requires the accused to register as a sex offender. The Court will determine the duration of the order, which can last for ten years, twenty-five years, or life, depending on the severity of the offence.
If you have been charged with sexual interference in York Region our Firm can assist you in developing a strategy to defend your charges. We have experience defending a wide variety of sexual interference allegations and regularly advocate for our client’s rights to ensure they receive the best possible outcome.
What is Sexual Interference?
An individual is guilty of sexual interference when they touch, with a part of their body or an object, an individual under the age of consent, or whom the accused believes to be under the age of consent, for a sexual purpose. In Canada the age of consent is sixteen. This means that individuals under the age of sixteen cannot legally consent to sexual activity with an adult.
Will I go to Prison for Sexual Interference?
In many cases those who are convicted of sexual interference are sentenced to a period of incarceration. Whether or not an individual will be sentenced to prison will depend on the severity of the allegations being made, the criminal history of the accused, the harm done to the complainant and various other aggravating and mitigating circumstances relevant to the case.
Will I be Required to Register as a Sex Offender if I am Convicted?
Yes. Those convicted of sexual interference in Canada must register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) on a mandatory basis. The Court will determine the period for which the SOIRA order will remain in the place which could be a period of ten years, twenty-five years or life.
Will I be able to see my Children if I am Charged with Sexual Interference?
When an individual is charged with sexual interference their release conditions will almost always include provisions prohibiting them from being around children. If an accused has children of their own this prohibition can prohibit them from seeing them until the case has resolved or the condition can be varied in Court.
What if the Complainant Lied about their Age?
To be guilty of the offence of sexual interference, the accused must have known the complainant was under the age of consent and must have taken reasonable steps to ascertain the true age of the complainant. If the complainant took elaborate steps to conceal their true age and appear to be over the age of consent, an accused will not be guilty of the offence.
What if the Alleged Incident Occurred a Long Time Ago?
There is no limitation period on reporting a sexual interference offence. Such an offence can be reported to law enforcement at any time after it occurs, even if several decades have passed. While historical cases are more difficult to prosecute due to faded memories and a loss of evidence, individuals may still be convicted of sexual interference for incidents that occurred in the past.
What are Common Bail Conditions?
Those who are convicted of sexual interference will often be placed on strict bail conditions pending the outcome of their case. In many cases an individual charged with sexual interference will be required to reside with a residential surety, remain away from children or places children are known to frequent, not to contact the complainant and to notify the police of any change of address or employment within twenty-four hours of the change.