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Charge(s): Sexual assault
Location: Tri-Counties (Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg), Ontario
Our Client(s): Mr. R
Year: 2023
Lawyer/Paralegal: Richard Aitken
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Please Note: Past results not predictive of future results.

The Background

Our client was now and established family man with a good education and career. He had gone through some difficulties in his teenage years, which included pleading guilty to sexual assault and being sentenced over 35 years earlier as a young offender.

In 2022, a woman went to police to have Mr. R charged. While she had gone to police over three decades earlier and been interviewed, she had denied any wrongdoing by Mr. R at the time. She later changed her mind. Mr. R was charged with sexual assault as a young offender, as the events were alleged to have taken place when Mr. R was under the age of 18–it is the age of the accused at the time of the offence that matters. There is no statute of limitations for most crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada, especially relating to sexual assault.

The Goals

We needed to have the charges withdrawn. Although these allegations were very dated, and from a period when Mr. R was a youth and he was not facing adult charges, Mr. R still had a lot to lose. Mr. R now worked in a profession that required him to obtain a criminal record check authorizing him to work in vulnerable sectors. He was concerned that if his employer found out about the charges, his career might be jeopardized.

The Strategy

The test for whether a Crown should prosecute or not is whether there is “a reasonable prospect of conviction.” I therefore needed to convince the Crown attorney that they had no reasonable prospect of conviction and that the charged should be dropped.

The problem was that although the charges were dated, the complainant was more than willing to testify.

In the two Crown pre-trials that I conducted, I was able to highlight to the Crown the inconsistencies in the evidence between what the complainant said 35 years ago and what she was saying now.

The Results

Ultimately, I was able to convince the Crown to withdraw the charges entirely. Mr. R was able to avoid jail, and did not even need to accept a peace bond.


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