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Successfully Defended Assault Cases

The Case

Mr. V was charged with assault with a weapon after stabbing his estranged wife during a drunken altercation at his apartment. During the trial, Mr. V claimed the stabbing was committed in self-defence in response to a violent attack from his wife, Ms. Q. The Crown conceded that it could not disprove that Ms. Q used force against Mr. V and that he defended himself by stabbing her with a knife. However, the Crown argued that Mr. V’s act of self-defence was not reasonable under the circumstances and thus not a valid defence. The reasonableness of Mr. V’s act became the trial’s focus.

During the trial, the Crown argued that Mr. V’s self-defence act was unreasonable because the force used was excessive, and he should have left the apartment after he was initially assaulted. However, Mr. V’s defence refuted this claim by submitting testimony and evidence that supported the reasonableness of the act by highlighting:

  • Photographs of Mr. V’s face showing a laceration and extensive bruising caused by Ms. Q’s initial attack.
  • Ms. Q’s previous arrest for an assault in which she broke Mr. V’s nose.
  • Physical assessment showing that Mr. V has mobility issues and is far less physically fit than Ms. Q.
  • That Mr. V was under no obligation to leave his own home.
  • That the knife was the only means of defending himself when he was cornered.

While the Crown presented Ms. Q as one of their witnesses at trial, she had problems describing the sequence of events to the extent that the Crown conceded that her testimony “lacked probative value and should be disregarded by the court.”

The Results

In dismissing the charges, Judge J noted that “[t]he onus is on the Crown to disprove each of the elements of self-defence beyond a reasonable doubt. I have more than a reasonable doubt.”

The Case

Mr. T was charged with assault after getting into a physical altercation with Ms. M in a hotel room the two had jointly booked after meeting through a dating app. Both parties sustained injuries during the incident, after which Ms. M left. The next morning Ms. M reported the assault to the police, who arrested Mr. T at the hotel.

During the trial, Ms. M testified that the two ended up “chest to chest” during an argument over her desire to leave. Ms. M stated that she pushed Mr. T to get past him but then temporarily blacked out before coming to on the floor, where she realized her mouth was bleeding. While cleaning herself in the bathroom, she claimed that Mr. T entered and grabbed her around the neck with enough force to leave a scratch on her neck. She bit him on the chest to make him let go and then exited the hotel room after gathering her belongings. Ms. M supplemented her testimony with photographs of her bruised mouth and the scratch.

In his testimony, Mr. T agreed that the two ended up chest to chest during an argument in the bedroom but stated that Ms. M pushed and beat him on the chest before biting him above the right nipple. At that point, he pushed her, and she ended up on the floor, where she momentarily blacked out. Mr. T supplemented his testimony with a photograph of the bite mark.

In responding to questions from Mr. T’s lawyer, Ms. M admitted that she could not definitively explain how her mouth was injured but assumed that Mr. T hit her. Mr. T’s lawyer also noted that while Ms. M testified that the scratch to the neck and subsequent bite happened in the bathroom, she reported that it happened in the bedroom in her statement to the police. Additionally, he pointed out that the scratch depicted in the photo was on her upper shoulder, not her neck.

The Results

Noting that the “central questions of fact in this trial were what happened and who started it,” Justice B said that he found Mr. T’s evidence credible. On the other hand, the justice found the inconsistencies in Ms. M’s evidence troubling enough to raise reasonable doubt, entitling Mr. T to be found not guilty.