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Defend Assault Charges

Crime Statistics

Statistics Canada collects data on incidents of common assault, also known as simple assault, as well as on major assaults, including assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, and aggravated assault. Assault is among the most common offences committed across Canada. Assault occurs when an individual makes physical contact with another person without that person’s consent.

In 2021 and 2022, the number of individuals convicted of a major assault dropped to 7,422. Of that number, just over 42% were sentenced to a period of custody. Roughly 40% of all assaults in Canada are considered violent assault.

National Assault Convictions in 2022
Offenders put on Probation for Assault
Violent Assault Offences Nationally in 2022
Offenders who Went to Jail for Violent Assault

Our Experience

Donich Law has over a decade of experience representing clients charged with various assault charges in Oshawa and throughout the Province of Ontario. Assault cases vary significantly from case to case, depending on the nature of the relationship between the parties and the nature of the assault itself. Where an individual applies force to another without permission, they may be charged with simple assault. Where an assault occurs and results in injuries, the perpetrator may be charged with assault causing bodily harm, or where the injuries are severe, aggravated assault. Where the perpetrator of an assault chokes the complainant, they may be charged with assault – choking, which is a serious offence. Finally, if a weapon is used or brandished during the commission of an assault, the perpetrator will face assault with a weapon charges.

In 2021, the Firm represented a client charged with various domestic charges including two counts of assault, forcible confinement, assault with a weapon and uttering threats in R. v. B.W. [2021]. In that case, the client was charged after his ex-girlfriend made allegations that he had assaulted her after a night at his house. The complainant left the accused residence and attended the police station to make a formal statement. After significant Crown pre-trial discussions, the Firm set the matter down for trial as a reasonable plea deal could not be reached. The Firm uncovered numerous inconsistencies in the complainant’s story during trial, ultimately defeating four of the five charges and resolving the remaining matter without a criminal record.

In 2021, the Firm represented another individual charged with domestic assault in R. v. A.R. [2021]. In that case, the complainant alleged that during a heated argument with her significant other, he had pulled her hair and struck her in the face. The accused was arrested, and a no contact order was put in place. The complainant was forced to hire counsel of her own to assist with varying the no contact order to allow the parties to communicate. The Firm worked alongside the complainant’s counsel to restore communication between the parties. The charges were ultimately withdrawn.

When an individual is charged with an assault related offence, either the police or court will order the accused not to have contact with the complainant, directly or indirectly, until the court orders otherwise or the case resolves. This is the case even with domestic assault charges, and even if the parties reside together. In situations where the parties reside together, the accused will typically need to find alternative housing for a period of time.

Many times, the complainant in a domestic assault case will not be agreeable to the no contact order. The no contact order will be put in place even where the complainant is not agreeable. It may be possible in some situations to have the condition altered or removed; however, it typically takes a significant period of time.

Jail Sentences for Assault Charges in Canada

Donich Law - Assault Punishments

Assault is a crime against the person that is serious and often includes a victim. Often, the effects of assault are debilitating for the complainant. This is why the police take assault very seriously, and an assault conviction remains on the criminal record. According to the Durham Regional Police, there were 2,149 cases of assault in 2017, divided further into 28 aggravated assaults, 417 assaults with a weapon or causing bodily harm, and 1,616 simple assaults. In 2019, there were 2,856 assaults or firearm related offences, the number dropped to 2,447 in 2021.

When an individual is charged with an assault related offence, either the police or court will order the accused not to have contact with the complainant, directly or indirectly, until the court orders otherwise or the case resolves. This is the case even with domestic assault charges, and even if the parties reside together. In situations where the parties reside together, the accused will typically need to find alternative housing for a period of time.

Many times, the complainant in a domestic assault case will not be agreeable to the no contact order. The no contact order will be put in place even where the complainant is not agreeable. It may be possible in some situations to have the condition altered or removed; however, it typically takes a significant period of time.

How to Defend Assault Charges

Donich Law has experience representing clients accused of assault in the context of a domestic relationship and have assisted in restoring communication between the parties where they wish for communication to be restored. In the 2021 case of R. v. J.D. [2021], the Firm represented an individual accused of assaulting his live in partner. While the assault was minor, a no contact order was put in place despite the complainant’s protest. The complainant hired independent legal counsel to assist in restoring contact. The Firm presented a united defence with the complainant’s independent legal counsel, restoring contact between the parties and ultimately securing a withdrawal of the charges.

In 2017, the Firm litigated the case of R. v. W.V. [2017], where the client was charged with assault with a weapon after throwing a burnt pizza at her domestic partner. The parties had gotten into a heated argument regarding the burnt pizza when it was thrown, striking the complainant in the head, and causing a cut. Due to the domestic nature of the relationship the Crown initially took a hard position on sentencing. The Firm negotiated with the Crown for some time before resolving the matter by way of withdrawal.

In 2016, the Firm represented a Hollywood actor accused of criminal harassment by an ex-partner after their relationship ended in R. v. A.C. [2016]. The accused was reported to police after allegedly sending hundreds of voicemails, emails, and text messages to his ex-partner. After completing upfront work and confusing a detailed analysis of the Crown’s evidence, the Firm secured a withdrawal.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Ancillary Orders Associated with an Assault Conviction?

When a judgement is entered and the accused is convicted in Oshawa and elsewhere, there are two parts to the judgement. There is the sentence itself and the ancillary orders. Ancillary orders are additional court orders that prohibit or compel certain actions. Ancillary orders are made depending on the facts of the case. Aggravating factors such as committing violence against an intimate partner, a child or a person of the vulnerable sector, or a dependent may result in more ancillary orders. Section 109(1) of the Criminal Code is a weapons prohibition that makes the possession of any “firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition and explosive substance” over a certain period of time. Weapons prohibitions also often includes imitations of weapons.

Another ancillary order is a DNA order. For assault cases, DNA orders are not mandatory, but the Crown may request it. Crimes are separated into primary designated offences and secondary designated offences. Primary designated offences require a mandatory DNA order, while secondary designated offences do not. Assault is considered a secondary designated offence.

Common Types of Disclosure, the Process of getting it, and Why it Takes so Long?

According to the principles of fundamental justice, the Crown must disclose all materials in its possession that is inculpatory or exculpatory as evidence. The complainant statement is usually the main piece of evidence that needs to be disclosed, but there are other types of disclosure as well. Disclosure may include local background checks on the accused, if the accused has any prior criminal history, it may be an aggravating factor. The evidence includes police collected evidence, which may or may not include any photo evidence of any possible injuries or evidence of assault. There may be witnesses and witness statements. Body-camera footage may be included, especially if the altercation was still happening when the police came. When the accused gives a statement, it will be included as well.

When the process begins, the police will collect everything and start a case file. Once the accused has been arrested, they will send the case file along with the accused’s release papers to the Crown’s office. This may take three to four weeks. Then the Crown undertakes two procedures: screening the file, and screening for the Crown’s position on a sentence. After which, the files are vetted, which meant any personal or sensitive information is redacted. Screening and vetting may take up to several months before the Crown finally gives the information to the defense.

It is important to retain a lawyer immediately after the arrest. Getting disclosure is a separate process as well, which requires communication with the Crown’s office. Each jurisdiction and each Crown’s office is different.

What If the Complainant Was Not Injured in Oshawa?

An injury can be an aggravating factor to the case but is not necessary for an assault charge. Section 266 of the Criminal Code defines simple assault as simply applying force to another person without their consent. This can range from a slap on the wrist to a knife wound. However, if the wounds were significant and serious, to the extent that it caused lasting suffering, it would be defined as assault causing bodily harm. Scrapes, bruises, and cuts may be factored into the Court’s analysis, but is often not sufficient enough for an assault causing bodily harm charge.

Often, the Crown will charge both assault and assault causing bodily harm to be decided by the Court. The Court will then analyze the factors of the case before determining whether an injury can be called bodily harm. The worse the injuries are, the more it is considered an aggravating factor.

What If I Did Not Hit the Complainant, Only Touched Them?

Section 265(1) of the Criminal Code qualifies assault as simply intentionally applying force directly or indirectly to another person without their consent. Section 265(1)(c) qualifies assault as accosting or begging while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation of a weapon. Even a touch on the arm may be considered assault if the receiving party did not consent. Consent is further carefully defined in the Criminal Code. If the complainant submits or does not resist due to the assault happening, the threat of the assault, fraud, or the exercise of authority, they do not consent.

How Long Does a Domestic Assault Charge Stay on Your Record in Oshawa?

As with any criminal record, a domestic assault charge remains permanently on the record. It is possible to apply for a pardon or a records suspension, as per the Criminal Records Act, RSC 1985, c C-47. Any criminal record can be an aggravating factor to a current case. However, a youth record is treated differently: it expires within a certain window of time, then becomes inaccessible without a s. 123 Youth Criminal Justice Act Order of the court.

This is different for absolute discharge and conditional discharges. When granted an absolute discharge, the offence is still recorded, but the record can only be disclosed with the approval of the Minister of Public Safety. A conditional discharge, similar to an absolute discharge, also meant the offence was recorded; however, the record remains for a longer period.

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Recent Cases

R. v. Dindyal, 2019 ONSC 6916

In the case of R. v. Dindyal, the accused was charged with 11 counts: six counts of assault, two counts of assault with a weapon, one count of mischief and one count of aggravated assault. This encompassed a 15-month period of domestic abuse. In addition, Dindyal was charged with one count of assault involving his intimate partner’s son. He was found guilty on ten counts.

In determining the proper sentencing for the convicted, the judge considered several aggravating and mitigating factors. The complainant has suffered permanent physical and psychological injuries as a result of the incident, outlined in her Victim Impact Statement. After highlighting the importance of deterring intimate partner violence, but also the mitigating factors of the convicted individual’s young age and chance for rehabilitation, the defendant was sentenced to two years less a day of imprisonment. In addition to imprisonment, the defendant also must abide by ancillary orders that included a weapons prohibition as well as forensic DNA analysis.

R. v. Gidharry, 2022 ONSC 2270

In the case of R. v. Gidharry, the accused was charged with three counts: one count of attempted murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count of assault with a weapon. The defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and the carrying of concealed weapons. The accused had a history of discontentment with the manager of the bakery he worked at. One day, armed with two samurai swords and a dagger, the accused entered the victim’s office and slashed the victim.

As a result, the victim sustained multiple injuries. Witnesses have entered and disrupted the altercation before the police could arrive. Considering the evidence of several witnesses, the Court found Mr. Gidharry guilty of aggravated assault. The Court also found Mr. Gidharry guilty of attempted murder, as many witnesses saw Mr. Gidharry enter the building armed and prepared—clearly having planned the attack.

R. v. Ha, 2023 ONCJ 75

In the case of R. v. Ha, the accused pled guilty to one count of assault and one count of distributing sexual images. The complainant and the accused were in a dysfunctional intimate relationship. In addition to previously assaulting her three times, the accused distributed ten videos of their sexual activities on a pornographic website.

To make a judgement, the Court considered several aggravating and mitigating factors for the assault. A mitigating factor was that the accused pled guilty and spared the victim from taking the stand. However, his violence against an intimate partner, the number of pornographic videos as well as the victim’s emotional impact were significant aggravating factors for the sentencing. The accused was sentenced to five years and ordered to provide DNA for forensic analysis.

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.