Frequently Asked Questions
What If I Have Been Falsely Accused in Orangeville?
Unfortunately, a false accusation is still a charge that must be proven false. Under a false accusation, the accused still must go through the criminal court process. The police may lay an assault charge with just the complainant’s word. Physical evidence in assault cases is rare, and it is rarer to have smoking gun evidence that results in an immediate conviction. When falsely accused, the first opportunity to present evidence is a Crown Pre-Trial.
If there is no evidence at all, a trial must be undertaken to argue that the allegations are fabricated. The complainant must testify on the stand, and the defense will cross-examine the complainant. When looking at testimony, the court determines whether it is credible and reliable. This was established in R. v. W (D),  1 S.C.R. 742. This case determined the factors for acquitting a defendant based on the evidence. The Crown must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning that the onus is on them to prove the crime happened. If the Crown cannot prove anything happened, then an acquittal is entered.
Will I Be Held for Bail if I Am Charged with Domestic Assault?
Being held for bail is a process that depends heavily upon the police. A release from the station along with the promise to appear for a hearing may sometimes be sufficient. However, the more serious the charges, the more likely the accused will be held for bail. A history of a criminal record also increases the likelihood the accused will be held for bail.
The accused is always presumed to be innocent, and the right to bail is guaranteed in the Charter. Whether or not you are held for bail will be on a case-by-case basis. In the leading case of R v. Antic,  1 S.C.R. 509, the Court was concerned with the defendant’s flight risk, as he did not reside in Canada. Several plans the defendant offered for bail was rejected before a bail judge found that denying Antic reasonable bail violated his section 11(e) rights. The terms of bail release imposed under s. 515(4) of the Criminal Code must be strictly necessary. This meant that the Court cannot impose unreasonable requirements for bail, such as unreasonable cash deposits or surety guarantees.
What Happens in a Bail Hearing for Domestic Assault?
When charged with domestic assault, the Court will determine proper bail conditions for the accused. Once the matter gets called, the Crown will indicate whether they will release on consent or whether it is contested. Release on consent is a release that is negotiated and agreed upon with the accused and defence lawyer prior to attending court. However, if the bail hearing is contested, the Crown will make submissions on what they believe the release plan should be and the defence lawyer will do the same. The judge will then determine the release plan that is most appropriate. In some cases the Crown will argue that the accused should be detained pending trial. The more violent the crime, the more insistent the Crown will be on contesting the matter.
Do Good Character Letters Help on Sentencing?
Good character letters are letters written for the defendant by the people in their lives to provide a fuller picture of them as a person. The judge does read and consider good character letters, but it has minimal effects on sentencing. Often during the criminal process, a defendant is dehumanized and stigmatized due to the charge of the crime. Good character letters help in providing context to the alleged crime, assisting the judge in determining an appropriate sentence that is optimal to the defendant and society.
It is important when writing a character letter to not argue for the defendant. The judge is not looking for arguments in a good character letter, but for a more holistic picture of the defendant. Sentencing often considers factors important for rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. A good character letter can be an example of the defendant’s involvement in their community and contribute marginally to sentencing.
I Did Not Actually Touch My Partner but Was Still Charged with Domestic Assault
Using a threatening gesture can constitute an assault under the Code. Section 264 of the Criminal Code is very strict on what is defined as assault. The wording of the Code qualifies that any act or gesture that threatens to apply force to another person without their consent constitutes an assault. The threats or physical action must leads to a reasonable apprehension of fear that an assault will occur to be considered an assault.
Assault is a crime against a person, and often includes a victim. In assault cases, there is often little to no evidence other than statements. A victim’s statement, however, is enough to convict the accused given the Court ruled it to be credible and reliable. When charged with assault, it is important to keep all evidence and hire a lawyer.