DEFEND SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGES IN OTTAWA. 1-866-DEFENCE.

If you have been charged with sexual assault in Ottawa it is important to contact qualified legal counsel as soon as possible to discuss your case. Sexual assault allegations are very serious and have the ability to permeate various areas of an accused’s life, even in cases where the allegations have been fabricated. Donich Law has devoted a portion of its practice to defending those charged with sexual assault as first-time offenders, those who have been wrongfully accused, those charged with historical sexual assaults and those with previous criminal histories.

In 2020, the Firm secured an acquittal on sexual assault and forcible confinement charges in R. v. M.Z. [2020]. In that case, the client was accused of assaulting one of his employees inside his restaurant. The Firm was able to prove on cross-examination that the complainant had fabricated her story. Later the same month, the Firm secured another acquittal for a client charged with sexual assault in R. v. K.H. [2020]. The client was a businessman in town from the United States when it was alleged that he assaulted the complainant inside a Toronto hotel.

In 2018, after three years of litigation, the Firm secured an acquittal of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching charges in R. v. D.D. [2018]. In 2018, the Firm represented an individual charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in R. v. S.L. [2018]. The client was accused of assaulting his co-worker inside a restaurant bathroom. The Firm filed a s. 276 application to prove that the complainant and accused had been having a secret affair and utilized forensic data from the cloud to access exculpatory evidence, ultimately beating all charges.

In 2017, the Firm represented an individual charged with sexual assault and sexual interference after allegations of a historical sexual assault were made to law enforcement nearly forty years after the alleged incident in R. v. M.M. [2017]. After three years of litigating the matter, the Firm secured the withdrawal of all charges. Later in 2017, the Firm secured the withdrawal of a sexual assault charge after two years of litigation in R. v. J.S. [2017].

In 2016, the Firm represented an individual charged with sexual assault and sexual interference in R. v. P.W. [2016]. In that case, the accused was alleged to have assaulted his daughter. In 2015, the Firm represented a client charged with sexual assault in R. v. K.C. [2015] after two of his classmates made allegations against him. The Firm was ultimately able to secure the withdrawal of all charges.

If you have been charged with sexual assault in Ottawa it is important to contact qualified and experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. Sexual assault charges may result in very serious implications including prison time and being forced to register as a sex offender for a significant period of time. Donich Law can assist you in navigating the Court process to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

CP24: Civil Sexual Assault Lawsuit at St. Michael’s in Toronto.

Global News: Historical Sexual Assault Charges and Bill Cosby.

Global News Radio: Justin Bieber facing allegations of Sexual Assault.

CityNews: Jordan Donich comments to CityNews regarding challenges with Sexual Assault Trials in Toronto.

CityNews: Jordan Donich provides expert commentary to CityNews regarding Sexual Assault Prosecution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sexual Assault?
What if Someone has Wrongfully Accused me of Sexual Assault in Ottawa?
How to Defend a Sexual Assault Charge in Ottawa?
-Consent
-Denying Sexual Interaction
What are the Maximum Penalties for an Assault Conviction?
Will I be a Sex Offender if I am Convicted of Sexual Assault in Ottawa?

Additional Resources

Assault
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
First Offenders
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Your rights

What is Sexual Assault? 

The offence of sexual assault is outlined in section 271 of the Criminal Code. It states that an individual is guilty of sexual assault when they commit an assault on another person and that assault violates the sexual integrity of the complainant. The Court will determine on a case-by-case basis whether an assault violated the sexual integrity of the complainant. When making this determination the Court will consider;

  • The circumstances surrounding the physical contact and whether or not violence or threats were used at any point during the assault
  • The motive of the accused in making physical contact
  • The nature of the physical contact
  • The area of the complainant’s body that was touched
  • The circumstances in which the physical contact occurred

In addition to simple sexual assault, the Code also outlines more serious sexual assault offences including sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.

Section 272 of the Criminal Code outlines the offence of sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm. It states that an individual is guilty of this offence when they sexually assault another person, and in the commission of that assault use, or threaten to use a weapon or imitation weapon, threaten to cause bodily harm to another person, cause bodily harm to the complainant, or where they are a party to the offence with any other person.

Section 273(1) of the Code states that an individual is guilty of aggravated sexual assault when they commit a sexual assault and, in the process, maim, disfigure, wound or endanger the life of the complainant. Aggravated sexual assault is the most serious of all sexual assault offences.

What if Someone has Wrongfully Accused me of Sexual Assault in Ottawa?

If you have been wrongfully accused of sexual assault it is important to contact and consult with experienced legal counsel right away. Sexual assault allegations are very serious and those convicted face periods of incarceration and will be required to register as a sex offender. Further, the social stigma that often accompanies a sexual assault allegation can follow an individual even if the allegations are found to be false. Such a stigmatization may lead to issues in personal relationships, loss of employment or difficulty gaining employment.

In many situations where an individual has been wrongfully accused of sexual assault they will feel as though the best course of action is to cooperate with the investigation. These individuals may feel as though they have nothing to lose by cooperating because they have nothing to hide. In reality, such a decision can have dire consequences on an individual’s case. Anything and everything said to police during a criminal investigation may be used against the accused. As a result, it is important to never speak to investigators or give statements to police.

An individual who has been wrongfully accused of sexual assault should contact experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. Even someone who is wrongfully accused may have to fight for their innocence at trial. In these instances, it is important to have a lawyer to assist you can ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. Donich Law can assist you in clearing your name if you have been wrongfully accused of committing sexual assault.

How to Defend a Sexual Assault Charge in Ottawa?

Sexual assault charges can be particularly difficult to prosecute and defend. This is, in part, due to the general lack of evidence in sexual assault cases. In most sexual assault cases there is no physical evidence and no third-party witnesses. This means that the only evidence in many cases is the statement of the complainant and the statement of the accused (if one was given). Two of the most commonly used defences for those accused of sexual assault include; consent and denying that sexual activity of any kind occurred.

Consent

In situations where the Crown has presented evidence that tends to prove that the accused and complainant did in fact engage in sexual activity, or where there is no dispute regarding whether sexual activity occurred, the accused may be able to argue consent. If the complainant consented to the sexual activity at the time and is now saying the interaction was not consensual, it will be prudent for the accused to present some evidence to bolster their defence. In these cases, it is important for the defendant to offer an explanation as to why the complainant is fabricating the allegations. A defendant may also attempt to discredit the complainant in an attempt to make them seem untrustworthy. It is important to note that a defendant is under no obligation to present any evidence to the Court proving their innocence. It is, however, often sensible to do so.

Denying Sexual Interaction

In situations where there is not enough evidence to prove that sexual activity occurred between the accused and complainant, the accused may argue that no sexual activity occurred between the parties. If such a defence is to be used, the defendant will likely need to provide the Court with some reason as to why the complainant would fabricate such an allegation.

The best defence for your sexual assault charge will depend largely on the evidence in the possession of the Crown, the facts of the case and the specific allegations being made. If you have been charged with sexual assault in Ottawa, Donich Law can assist you in developing the right strategy to defend your case.

What are the Maximum Penalties for an Assault Conviction?

Sexual assault is among the most serious criminal offences and individual can be charged with. As a result, such offences are prosecuted aggressively by Crown Attorney’s and those who are convicted are sentenced harshly.

Sexual assault is a hybrid offence, meaning the Crown may choose to elect to proceed by indictment or summarily. This election will determine, among other things, the maximum penalties that may be imposed on an accused who is convicted. The Crown will elect to proceed by indictment in more serious cases and summarily in more minor cases. Where the Crown elects to proceed by indictment, an accused will face a maximum of ten years in prison upon conviction. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison, and/or up to a $5,000 fine.

Will I be a Sex Offender if I am Convicted of Sexual Assault in Ottawa?

Yes. Section 490.011 of the Criminal Code states that an individual will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act on a mandatory basis if they are convicted of a designated sexual offence. Sexual assault is among the designated sexual offences outlined in the Code. As a result, everyone who is convicted of sexual assault will be required to register as a sex offender for a period of time as prescribed by the Court.

Quick Facts

What is Sexual Assault?

An individual has committed a sexual assault when they commit an assault on another person and that assault violates that sexual integrity of the complainant. The definition of sexual assault is quite broad and covers a wide variety of unwanted physical interactions.

Will I go to Jail for Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is considered a very serious offence and some offenders who are convicted will be sentenced to a period of incarceration. The maximum penalties for those who are convicted range from two years less a day in prison, and/or a $5,000 fine to up to ten years in prison.

Will I be Required to Register as a Sex Offender if I am Convicted of Sexual Assault?

Yes. Sexual assault is a designated sexual offence. As outlined in the Criminal Code, everyone who is convicted of a designated sexual offence will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) on a mandatory basis.

How Long will I be Required to Register as a Sex Offender if I am Convicted?

Those who are convicted of sexual assault in Ottawa will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA). Upon convicting an offender for a designated sexual offence, the Court will issue a SOIRA order, requiring the offender to register. A SOIRA order will remain in place for ten years, twenty years or life as prescribed by the Court.

What if I was in a Relationship with the Complainant?

In sexual assault cases, it is not relevant that the accused and complainant were in a relationship at the time of or prior to the alleged sexual assault. Consent to sexual activity must be ongoing and constant. This means that just because an individual has consented to sexual activity in the past does not mean they will consent in the future.

What is a s. 276 Application?

As a general rule in criminal law, a defendant may not introduce evidence of a complainant’s past sexual history in a criminal proceeding to suggest that the complainant was consenting to the sexual activity in question. If the defence wishes to call such evidence, they must submit a s. 276 application, prior to trial, requesting permission to do so. Only where the Court deems the evidence relevant and pertinent to the case will the application be granted.

Will People Find out About my Charges?

In Canada, most court proceedings are open to the public, which means that anyone can observe. Further, once an individual is convicted of a crime their conviction becomes part of the public record which can be viewed by any member of the public. That being said, it is possible to minimize the amount of exposure your sexual assault charge will receive. Hiring legal counsel to attend court proceedings on behalf of the accused will allow the accused to avoid physically attending court and being recognized by someone.

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