The crime of sexual assault is defined as an attack of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. The assault, as held by the Supreme Court of Canada, is not entirely dependent on physical contact with any particular part of the body. The main focus is whether the assault was of a sexual nature that compromised the victim’s sexual integrity.
There are certain elements to consider when investigating a case of sexual assault:
- The nature of the physical contact
- The body part and region that was touched
- The factual situation leading up to the sexual assault and during same
- Whether there were gestures or words that accompanied the assault
- Whether there were threats that may or may not have been combined with force
- Other relevant circumstances involved in the assault
Aggravated sexual assault occurs when the assailant, when committing the sexual assault, maims, disfigures, wounds or puts the life of the victim in danger.
If you are facing charges of this nature, having an aggravated sexual assault defence lawyer representing you is vital.
Types of Sexual Assault Charges
Sexual assault is not limited to one type of act.
When the accusations are brought to the police, the accused will face one of three different charges. Section 271, 272 and 273 of Canada’s Criminal Code define and categorize the crime of sexual assault on three different levels:
- Level one addresses sexual assault. This level indicates that the assailant committed an assault that was sexual in nature, but though it compromised the sexual integrity of the victim, no physical injuries were inflicted. This may include inappropriate touching, unwanted kissing and oral, vaginal or anal sex. On this level, the matter of consent is critical.
- Level two addresses sexual assault that causes bodily harm or involves a weapon or threats to a third party.
- Level three covers aggravated sexual assault.
The individual levels are differentiated by the severity of the physical injuries sustained by the person who filed the complaint.
In Canada, there is no statute of limitation on sexual assault. You can be accused at any time regardless of when the alleged crime took place.
Work with a Knowledgeable Sexual Assault Defence Lawyer in Toronto, Kitchener, London or Windsor
The prosecution of sexual assault is complicated due to the many legal issues that surround these types of cases, such as:
- Whether consent was given
- Whether the accused genuinely believed consent was given (i.e. honest but mistaken belief in consent)
- The presence of any prior or subsequent sexual acts that can be used in court
- The actual age of the alleged victim
- The accused’s belief regarding the alleged victim’s age
- Whether alcohol or drugs were involved (under the Criminal Code, a person cannot give consent if he or she is extremely drunk, asleep or unconscious.)
Not everyone charged with sexual assault is guilty. Occasionally, false allegations are made. Some alleged victims have motives to lie which can be exposed in court. There are also cases of mistaken identity.
Having an experienced criminal defence lawyer from Kruse law fight for you in court can be the deciding factor between a conviction and an acquittal.