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Seeking Support and Justice: The Role of a Sexual Assault Lawyer in Ontario

Farid Zamani
Farid Zamani
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Sexual assault is considered a very serious crime in Canada, and the consequences of being convicted are severe. If you have been accused of this crime or a related offence, it is essential that you hire a sexual assault lawyer with Ontario experience right away. When you need a Toronto sexual assault lawyer, look no further than the team at Zamani Law, who have the deep knowledge of the law and of the Ontario criminal justice system needed to defend you against these accusations.

In this article, we will relay the most important information about how to defend yourself against sexual charges: how sexual assault is defined, what the penalties could be, and how the right sexual assault lawyer for Ontario residents can make the difference between an airtight defence and a host of life-changing, negative consequences.

What Is Sexual Assault?

Most of us have an intuitive understanding of what sexual assault is, but it is important to understand how it is defined in the law. A key function of a sexual assault lawyer in Ontario is to use their intimate understanding of how the law is defined and applied in the criminal justice system.

Sexual assault is covered in the Criminal Code of Canada (the “Code”) under Section 271. In the Code, sexual assault occurs when:

  • An individual intentionally touches another person in a sexual manner without the other person’s consent. The touching can be direct or indirect (i.e. with a part of their body or with an object).
  • The offender either knows that the other person does not consent to the activity or is reckless as to whether the other person consents.

Note the three essential elements in the definition above:

  • Intent
  • Lack of consent
  • Knowledge or recklessness regarding the lack of consent

This definition may leave you with some questions as to how this section of the Code is interpreted and how Ontario courts make decisions in sexual assault cases. For example, you may be wondering what “in a sexual manner” means. This highlights how critical it is to hire a sexual assault lawyer with Ontario experience: not only can they explain this more clearly to you, but they understand how the criminal justice system applies the Code and, in turn, how to effectively defend someone who is accused of sexual assault.

What Are the Penalties for Sexual Assault in Ontario?

Sexual assault is a unique crime in terms of the range and severity of potential penalties. Some of these penalties can profoundly impact your career, your ability to travel, and your participation in community life. Hiring an excellent sexual assault lawyer who has Ontario experience is vital to more than keeping you out of jail: it can also help you preserve the life that you have built thus far.

Here are the potential penalties for being found guilty of sexual assault:

  • Incarceration or probation
  • Registration as a sex offender on the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR)
  • Restraining orders
  • A criminal record
  • Restrictions on travel
  • Deportation, if you are a non-citizen
  • Civil lawsuits

Unlike many other crimes, sexual assault convictions can have consequences that last your entire life. It will be extremely difficult to escape the stigma of being a convicted sexual assault offender, and this can affect everything from where you live and what types of jobs you are able to get to how you will function socially. Having a sexual assault lawyer with Ontario court experience is critical to avoiding or minimizing these consequences.

How Can a Sexual Assault Lawyer for Ontario Defendants Help?

Sexual assault defence lawyers play a very important role in the criminal justice system. They help to ensure that the law is fairly applied and that their client’s rights are protected. In so doing, they are essential to maintaining the integrity of the criminal justice system. Every sexual assault lawyer in Ontario is keenly aware of their vital function in making the criminal justice system accessible and equitable.

From the defendant’s point of view, a Toronto sexual assault lawyer can help in the following ways:

Protecting Your Rights

In Canada, you have the right to privacy, meaning you cannot be subject to illegal search and seizure of your property. A sexual assault defence lawyer will ensure that the police do not ask you for access they are not entitled to. If your criminal defence lawyer later finds that this right was violated, they may move to have any evidence obtained in the search excluded or to have the charges dismissed.

You are also entitled to legal representation. If you are not advised of this right, or this rate is denied, your lawyer for your sexual assault case could also move to have the charges against you dismissed or to have anything you said prior to retaining a lawyer excluded from the evidence.

Explaining the Law and its Application

Unless you are a criminal defence lawyer yourself, you may not have a good understanding of what the law says and how it is interpreted in the criminal justice system. A good sexual assault lawyer in Ontario will lay it out for you in a way that you can more easily grasp.

Guiding You Through the System

Part of the role of a sexual assault defence lawyer is to shepherd you through your time in the criminal justice system, from your first encounter with the police all the way through the appeals process and beyond. Knowing what you can expect helps you prepare and keeps you from making mistakes that could damage your case.

Representing you in the System

Every sexual assault lawyer in Ontario is responsible for representing their clients in the criminal justice system. This includes interacting with the police, negotiating with the Crown attorney and other representatives of the government, and standing up for you in court. You are not alone when you have a qualified sexual assault defence lawyer at your side.

Providing You with Support

Being questioned by the police or getting arrested can be highly stressful. The police and the Crown take sexual assault very seriously and are motivated to reduce its prevalence by holding violators accountable. This can create a situation for an accused person that is so uncomfortable that they end up giving the police information that is detrimental to their own case.

A skilled sexual assault lawyer in Ontario will be by your side during these interactions, giving you greater confidence, helping you to remain calm, and explaining everything that is happening to you. Throughout your experience in the criminal justice system, there is no better person to have in your corner than an excellent criminal defence lawyer such as the team at Zamani Law.

Protecting You from Self-Incrimination

In your efforts to protect yourself, you may unintentionally make statements that could be used against you. For example, in a sexual assault case, you might admit to having touched someone inappropriately because they did not protest. This is an admission that the touching occurred and could be used as evidence to prove that you committed a crime. Your Toronto sexual assault lawyer will advise you about what to say and when to remain silent.

The police will attempt to collect as much information from you as they can when they question you. It can be intimidating and stressful to be in this position. This is why hiring a lawyer for your sexual assault case is essential. It is your right to have legal representation; do not hesitate to get a sexual assault lawyer with Ontario experience in your corner right away!

How Would a Sexual Assault Lawyer in Ontario Defend Me?

In all criminal cases, the onus is on the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime in question. Your criminal defence lawyer will defend you by “creating” that doubt. That does not mean they will manufacture it, but they highlight aspects of the Crown’s case that could or should be questioned.

These are the main arguments the lawyer for your sexual assault case could use:

Your Rights Were Violated

If either your right to freedom from illegal search and seizure or your right to an attorney were violated, your sexual assault lawyer for Ontario cases will argue that your case should be dismissed or that the evidence obtained in the search should be excluded.

You Have Been Mistaken for Someone Else

The Crown must establish that you were the person who committed the assault, and they must prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. If your Toronto sexual assault lawyer discovers that the evidence does not clearly identify you, they can use that in your defence.

You Did Not Intend to Assault the Other Person

It could be the case that you did touch the person but that the touching was accidental. The onus is on the Crown to show that you intended to assault the other person. If you did not intend to make contact with the other person, your sexual assault lawyer for Ontario defendants will try to show that the act was inadvertent.

The Other Person Consented to the Sexual Activity

The question of consent is complicated and constantly evolving. For example, silence or passivity do not indicate consent and cannot be used in court to argue that the person consented to the activity. In addition, someone might initially consent to the activity and later withdraw their consent. If the accused person continues with the sexual activity beyond that, they could be found guilty.

There are also situations where the other person is incapable of consenting, such as when they are incapacitated, intoxicated, unconscious, or under the age of consent. If the accused person is in a position of power over the person making the complaint, it is also not a defence to say that they consented to the sexual activity.

As you can see, there are many gray areas when it comes to arguing the issue of consent in a courtroom. Although it is up to the Crown to prove that the complainant did not consent, the evolving understanding of what does and what does not indicate consent makes it challenging to argue reasonable doubt. The need for a qualified, experienced Toronto sexual assault lawyer cannot be overstated when this matter is up for debate.

If I Am Innocent, Should I Defend Myself?

It is your right to defend yourself when you are accused of a crime. However, the potential consequences of being convicted of sexual assault are very serious. It is highly unadvisable even to attend a meeting with the police without a skilled and experienced criminal defence lawyer at your side. Lawyers themselves hire lawyers when they need legal representation, which should indicate the wisdom and utility of this choice.

Retaining a Toronto sexual assault lawyer offers the following advantages:

  • Intimate knowledge of the sexual assault laws in Canada and their application.
  • Familiarity with the criminal justice system in Ontario.
  • Objectivity and consistent focus on facts and legal strategy.
  • Accuracy and precision when drafting documents and submissions to the court.
  • Time and resources to commit to your defence.

Defending yourself is rarely a good idea, even if you are an attorney yourself. With a sexual assault charge, it is particularly important that an experienced Toronto sexual assault lawyer represent you.

About Zamani Law

If you have been accused of sexual assault, the team at Zamani Law stands prepared to assist you. We understand this is a stressful time for you, but you are in good hands with us. With our deep knowledge of the criminal justice system in Ontario, we are adept at shepherding clients through their interactions with the system, including your surrender to the police, your bail hearing, your appearances in court, and anything you need after you receive your verdict.

Remember the first rule of being charged with an offence: call a lawyer. Make that lawyer Zamani Law. Contact us today for a free consultation.

 

 

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