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Can A Victim Consent To Assault Causing Bodily Harm?

You’ve been charged with assault causing bodily harm.  The victim had stitches or a broken arm, or something like that, a broken nose.  Pretty serious charge.  Now you come to our firm and retain us and say “look they consented to the fight. We were at a bar and he and I agreed to step outside we got in a fight. I won the fight and caused these injuries. Why are they proceeding with the charge because the victim consented?”  Well, you can consent to a simple assault where there’s no injuries.  So you and I and anyone else can step outside and have a fight and as long as there’s no injuries then there’s going to be no charges.

The problem is in Canada, there is a line of cases right from the Supreme Court of Canada, you cannot consent to bodily harm.  So if we step outside and get in a fight and I injure you resulting in bodily harm I’m going to get charged and that’s not a defence.  The defence, if there’s self-defence you can defend yourself but you can’t agree to get into a fight cause bodily harm and think you are going to get away with it. So that’s the simple answer to that particular question.

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