City: Cobourg, Ontario
Our Client: Ms. S.
Complainant: Mr. W.
Charge(s): Assault (domestic)
Background: Ms. S. was a young woman, barely out of her teens, still living with her parents. She was taking a year off school to earn some money. One summer day her ex-boyfriend, Mr. W. called her. He was on bail and said that he needed a ride home to report for probation the next day. He said that he was in a tight spot. So Ms. S. agreed to go get him after she got off work that evening. When she arrived she found him drunk and high on cocaine. She picked him up and as they drove off, an argument broke out. Ms. S. eventually pulled over and told Mr. W. that he could either shut up or get out of the car. Mr. W. got out of the car and slammed the door. Ms. S. began to pull away, but then Mr. W. reopened the passenger door and started hanging off it. Ms. S. immediately pulled over again. Mr. W. jumped back into the vehicle and tried to pull the door closed but the door was now bent and would not shut properly. He eventually managed to get it closed and started begging for a ride home. Ms. S.’s response was that he could either get out or drive back with her to her parents to explain why the door was broken. He agreed to return with her to her parent’s, but on the way there Mr. W. changed his mind and demanded that she pull over. Ms. S. said no; she had already offered that option and now she was going to drive straight to her parents’ house. In response, Mr. W. rolled down the passenger side window and started climbing out. At this point Ms. S. smacked Mr. W. and pulled on his shorts to keep him from falling out of the window. Mr. W. slid back into the passenger seat, then punched the front windshield and shattered it. Ms. S. was forced to pull over because she could no longer see out the front windshield. At that point Ms. S. called her parents. When they showed up her father told Mr. W. that he could return to the parents’ place in the damaged up vehicle which the father would drive, or they would leave without him. Mr. W. chose to stay behind. However, Ms. S. felt responsible for Mr. W., so her two brothers went back to retrieve him. They brought him to the parents’ house where Mr. W. became combative with one of the brothers and a fight broke out. Ms. S.’s mother called the police. The father broke up the fight, and told Mr. W. to leave. By the time police arrived, Mr. W. had taken off. They searched the area for him and eventually Fire Services found him, visibly intoxicated and confused. He told police that he had been punched earlier in the evening by his ex-girlfriend, Ms. S. and that he wanted charges laid. The police returned to Ms. S.’s parents’ house and charged Ms. S. with assault.
Goal: Ms. S.’s dual objectives were to avoid a criminal conviction and to have the matter disposed of quickly so that she could get back to her life.
Strategy: Agreeing to Peace Bond seemed like a reasonable resolution to avoid a criminal conviction and conclude the matter quickly. The Crown agreed to the Peace Bond, but wanted Ms. S. to take the Partner Assault Response (PARs) Program first. While Ms. S. had no problem with participating in the PARs program, completing it before entering into the Peace Bond would have caused a delay in putting this affair behind her. After some negotiation, the Crown agreed to allow Ms. S. to complete the PARs and enter into the Peace Bond simultaneously.
Result: The assault charge was withdrawn.