With one’s family and intimate relationships on the line, a domestic assault charge in a small town like Peterborough makes many of our clients nervous, and rightfully so. We understand the close knit community and the specific consequences a charge like this comes with. When you walk through our doors, we want you to know what challenges are up ahead, but the end goal is always the same; create the best possible individualized defence with your unique circumstances in mind.
Under the Canadian Criminal Code, domestic assault convictions appear simply as assault charges. Consequences of domestic assault are not necessarily the same as simple assault however. Both forms of assault could leave you with a criminal record that may stay with you throughout your lifetime.
Section 718.2(a)(ii) of the Code makes it so that the nature of the relationship between the accused and the victim in domestic assault considers the assault to be an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing. It is important to know that a criminal record can drastically change your life in many ways, such as restrictive probation conditions, loss of employment or volunteer opportunities and limited travel abilities. The Crown may also proceed summarily or by way of indictment. A summary offence includes a $5,000 fine, 6 months in jail or both. An indictable offence is much more serious than a summary offence and carries with it a maximum sentence of five years.
While the above-mentioned consequences may seem overwhelming and worrisome, it is important that you know the possible outcome of a conviction, (not a charge). At Aitken Robertson, our team of talented lawyers have taken on this charge many times before and have a wide breadth of experience when it comes to tailoring individual defences to move the case toward success.
- Credibility: Often within a domestic assault case, strong negative emotions such as anger and jealousy can skew a complainant’s account of the events in question. By examining a complainant’s credibility and taking a close and detailed look at any and all available evidence, (images, witness statements, emails, social media, video footage, etc.) our team can sometimes break apart the case built up against our client.
- Self-defence: Another common defence is one of self-defence. In order to successfully make this defence however, there are a number of criteria that must be met as outlined in the Criminal Code of Canada. One must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that force (or reasonable belief that force) was being used against the accused, that the accused’s response to the threat was only done for the sole purpose of defending or protecting oneself from said force, and that the accused’s response was reasonable within the particular circumstance. With a fine-tooth comb, our team gathers details and supporting evidence that ensure the stories of those acting in self-defence are told.
- Charter Application: A Charter application seeking to exclude incriminating evidence in a trial can also be used as a strategic defence in Peterborough domestic assault cases. Charter applications are a legal motion that outline ways in which the police violated an accused’s Charter rights during the course of a criminal investigation. There is a low tolerance for investigative techniques that invade upon the rights and freedoms of our country’s citizens and because of this, if Charter rights are deemed to have been violated, one of our lawyers can argue that the evidence connected to or obtained by virtue of that violation be excluded from your trial.
- Previous Cases: Our team of experienced lawyers may also draw upon promising past defences or case law research where past circumstances show similarities to an accused’s current situation. From this, great insight and direction with likely determined outcomes become apparent.
There are a multitude of ways in which we strive for success for our Peterborough clients. While past results do not necessarily indicate future success, we can provide the confidence that our Peterborough team of trained and dedicated lawyers have the in-depth understanding that the complexities of domestic assault law demand within the city and surrounding areas.
We can’t simply resolve (domestic assault) as we would between two individuals who are never going to see each other again. Because of the domestic nature of the matter and the fact that there is an ongoing relationship generally between the parties involved, it’s important that our resolution reflect this…We try to resolve these matters in a way that allows the relationship to continue in a more positive way moving forward.” – Richard Robertson