Case Study: Charges Dismissed – Indecent Assault on a Male and Administering Noxious Thing
Mr. J. contacted us following allegations by his son, 45 years old at the time, that Mr. J. had sexually assaulted him and injured him using needles, marbles, metal rods, and a knife as a child. Mr. J. and multiple members of his family expressed concern that this might be retaliation, as Mr. J.’s wife, the mother of the complainant, had recently requested the complainant repay owed money.
The family’s recollection of the complainant’s childhood included frequent claims of sexual assault by parties varying from family members, to priests, to teachers. The complainant was medicated for mental health reasons and experienced hallucinations and blackouts when he was not on the medication, as was the case during his childhood.
The family was highly cooperative in preparing for the case, hoping to see the allegations against Mr. J. dropped so they could move on with their lives.
The penalty for these charges could include serious prison time. Mr. J. and his family were adamant that the allegations were false and that they would do anything to prove this to keep Mr. J.’s status as an innocent man. To spare the family undue hardship, we needed to have the charges dropped as quickly as possible.
The story the complainant gave was filled with contradictions; both internal contradictions, and contradictions with the stories of the rest of the family. That said, the majority of the defence relied upon the uncorroborated evidence of the accused and other members of the family, making the case more complex. Justin’s defence strategy had two key components.
First, rather than attempting to surprise the Crown at trial with the contradictions they had found in the complainant’s story, they would be upfront and demonstrate their case to the Crown early in the proceedings. The goal for this part of the strategy was to prompt a withdrawing of the charges as early as possible.
Second, in front of the judge we would present the testimony of the accused and the family, as well as cross-examine the complainant, to demonstrate the inconsistencies in his story. As the accusations were concerning events from over thirty years prior the complainant’s testimony made up the bulk of the Crown’s case and calling his reliability and recollection into question would be strong grounds for the judge to have reasonable doubt.
Her Honour approached the credibility of the complainant’s statements with the understanding that, as the witness was a child at the time of the alleged incident, and that there may be some discrepancies because of this. However, the complainant omitted details of the event, creating inconsistencies between his complaint to the police and his statement in court. The complainant was also not on the medication necessary to control his hallucinations and blackouts at the time the complaint was made. Finally, the statements by the accused’s daughter, the sister of the complainant, noted that the alleged “violent incidents” involving a knife, which the complainant alleged occurred in the sister’s room, left evidence, such as blood.
Her Honour declared that she had reasonable doubt and all charges against Mr. J. were dismissed.