In Canada, sexual assault cases are generally prosecuted to the limit of the law. Those who find themselves accused of sexual assault face some harsh consequences —not just jail time, but also loss of employment and the ruination of their reputations (regardless of whether the charges result in a conviction). It is important for anyone accused of sexual assault to secure the services of a qualified criminal defence lawyer who is equipped to take on their case.
Elements of the offence
The term “sexual assault” encompasses much more than rape. The law includes many other forms of unwanted sexual activity. Section 271 of the Canadian Criminal Code defines sexual assault as “Any form of sexual activity that is forced on someone else.” The activity includes “kissing, touching, oral sex, or intercourse, but without consent and without causing bodily harm. The maximum prison term for this type of offence is 10 years in prison. Section 272(1) describes the use of “a weapon, threats to a third party, and/or bodily harm.” The maximum prison sentence for this type of offence is 14 years in prison. Section 273(1), aggravated sexual assault is defined by “any form of sexual assault that involves the brutal beating of the victim, wounding, maiming, disfiguring, or endangering the life of the victim.” It carries with it a maximum of life imprisonment.
What is Consent?
Consent is defined as a voluntary agreement between the parties by words or conduct. Even if previous consent has been given, a person may withdraw their consent at any time. The law accepts that a person does not consent where they do not have the appropriate capacity to consent (for example if they are unconscious or drunk). A relationship between the parties does not remove the requirement for consent to be obtained prior to any sexual activity.
As you can imagine a sexual assault conviction, of any nature, is very serious. This can come with some pretty onerous consequences. Not only is a hefty prison sentence an option. You may be required to register of the national sex offenders registry for a period of time, or even for life. A criminal conviction can also affect any potential immigration statuses. Moreover, potential employment opportunities can be severely limited as well as any volunteer activities. A conviction can tarnish your reputation for life.
Aitken Robertson: Defence Lawyers on Your Side
As one can imagine, these cases can often be quite complicated and involve extremely sensitive matters. The legal team at Aitken Robertson have decades of experience in criminal law, We offer a free 30 minute initial consultation with affordable block- fee billing methods.