These penalties can include lengthy terms of imprisonment, but a guilty finding also marks one for life as a sexual predator. Along with this stigma, you will be subject to the onerous conditions imposed by your mandatory placement on the Ontario Sex Offender Registry. Thus, if you’re charged with sexual assault in Toronto consult with a highly skilled sexual assault lawyer as soon as possible to begin mounting an efficient defense.
The sooner you secure the services of a Toronto-area sexual assault lawyer, the quicker your lawyer can start working on a defense strategy to beat the charges, or otherwise secure the most favorable outcome possible. In many cases one of the first things your sexual assault lawyer will work on is securing your release from police custody under the least restrictive bail conditions possible.
The sexual assault lawyers at the Greater Toronto Area law offices of Mass Tsang are highly experienced in helping their clients navigate the complexities of sexual assault law and have successfully defended hundreds of cases.
Even mere sexual assault allegations are sometimes more than enough to damage reputation. Once there is a formal charge, you need to retain the services of a capable criminal lawyer. Mass Tsang has a team of sexual assault lawyers who have had decades of experience handling such cases. If you are in the Greater Toronto Area, call and arrange for a free consultation to know your rights and defence options.
As per the Criminal Code of Canada, sexual assault is a form of assault that is sexual in nature. It encompasses a wide range of offences – both with or without physical contact. To constitute a sexual assault, these three conditions must exist:
Force, in this case, does not necessarily have to involve the use of coercion or physical violence. Once the person touches or threatens to touch another person, that can already be deemed as an application of force.
It occurs when another person's sexual integrity is violated and damaged. The basis for determining if an assault is sexual is the circumstances that surround the attack, which parts of the body were touched, spoken words, specific acts and the perpetrator's intention.
A voluntary agreement, clearly expressed in words or conduct, to participate in sexual activity by the person concerned is consent. The lack of, on the other hand, is the distinction between sexual contact and sexual assault – in as far as the law is concerned. Consent cannot be given if a person is incapable due to intoxication, a disability, or other reasons. Consent also cannot be given if the person is in a situation or position of trust, power, or authority is being abused. The law further considers a relationship of dependency, age (16 years or younger), as grounds to constitute the lack of consent.
The definition of sexual assault in the Criminal Code is broad. It can, however, be classified into different types based on the nature of the act committed and the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. Furthermore, the severity of the act determines the seriousness of the sexual assault.
The worst of sexual assault crimes involves physical contact. It may be consummated (penetration) or not and includes other acts.
This form of assault may not involve physical contact but is still sexual in nature. It encompasses these manifestations:
Any form of sexual activity forced on another person, which includes sexual activity without consent, body contact that is sexual. The victim may or may not have minor physical injuries. A conviction for level 1 sexual assault can land you in jail for up to 10 years.
A sexual assault involving the use or threat to use a weapon. Threatening the victim's friends or family members, causing bodily harm to the victim, or committing the sexual assault with another person falls under this level in which a conviction carries up to 14 years in jail.
The most severe case of sexual assault occurs when the perpetrator maims, disfigure, or endanger the life of the victim. A conviction of this crime, also called aggravated sexual assault, is punishable by up to life in prison.
In cases that involve the same sexual assault charge, the circumstances vary, which means that the criminal lawyer will have to think of all the possibilities and prepare a proper defence. However, there are the five most commonly used defences.
Once you retain the services of a Mass Tsang, the sexual assault lawyer will try to gather facts and evidence to show that you were not there, could not have applied force to the complainant, and more.
The sexual assault lawyer will challenge the accuser to positively identify the accused person of committing the sexual assault. Do note that forensic tools may be used to confirm the identity of the attacker.
The burden of proving that there was a sexual activity is on the accuser. In this defence strategy, it often comes down to a battle of credibility. For this reason, you should retain a sexual assault lawyer in Toronto who is well- versed in defending this type of case, one of which is gathering evidence to put the testimonies of the accuser in doubt.
In many sexual assault cases, it comes down to the distinction between a sexual activity or sexual assault – with consent being the core issue. If there is, indeed, a sexual activity, then the criminal defence lawyer will – among others – gather information and evidence to show that there was consent or discredit the accuser. Otherwise, consent may not matter if it cannot be shown that there was sexual activity.
Yet another common defence that could be presented is that the mistaken belief in consent on the part of the accused. Arguing that the complainant consented has its limitations. For example, self-induced intoxication does not qualify. The best Toronto sexual assault lawyer would argue on behalf of the client that there was a reasonable belief the complainant was consenting.
In sexual assault cases, the Crown must prove that the elements that constitute such a case are present – beyond a reasonable doubt. As stated in the previous section, there are common defences that your lawyer can use. In theory, planning a strategy sounds uncomplicated. However, only sexual assault lawyers with years upon years of experience can navigate the intricacies of the law to get the case dropped, secure an acquittal, or negotiate a reduced sentence.
The burden of proof may be on the Crown. But a successful defence is not merely a matter of arguing against each piece of evidence presented by the accuser. In some instances, whereas possible and necessary, the sexual assault lawyer may also go on the offensive. It may even include winning your case on technicalities, such as finding flaws in the manner of arrest conducted by the police. Yes, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you do have rights before and after an arrest.
For minor sexual assault cases, you may explore the possibility of paying for legal services on an hourly basis. Most of the time, though, the most recommended option is to choose block fees. It is an option that a Mass Tsang sexual assault lawyer can better explain. Essentially, you agree to a set of services without worrying about an unexpected increase in the number of hours worked. If there are unforeseen circumstances that necessitate more hours, you still pay the same block fee as agreed upon.
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