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What are Some Sexual Assault Trial Delays?

For our clients who are charged with sexual assaults, who take their matter to trial, the first question they often want to know is, “how long is this going to take?”  I’ve been charged with sexual assault, the person’s eighteen years or over, how long is this going to take to complete my trial? In Ontario, the courts are very clogged, there’s no question, there’s a lot of delays, but the court allows certain delays. In this particular situation is after you are arrested, you are going to have a first appearance, that’s going to be about three to six weeks down the road, okay, your first appearance. And there’s going to be anywhere from three to four remand appearance where your lawyer is gathering information, the disclosure, meeting with the crown, meeting with you before really key decisions are made. Then there’s going to be a judicial pretrial set perhaps one month after that. At that point, you are in a position to set your trial date and that trial date is going to take place months down the road. When all is said and done, from the time you are arrested to the time your trial is completed whether it’s in the Ontario court of Justice, or the Superior Court of Justice, that process could take anywhere from eight, nine, to eighteen months depending on the situation.  It used to be for sexual assault matters that proceeded with indictment was the right to a preliminary hearing which was a second step, in fact an advantageous step, an evidentiary hearing, but that’s no longer the case for sexual assault matters involving adults. A person eighteen or over.  So that’s the short answer, it’s going to take months, it’s going to take up to eighteen months depending on the counties, some are more delays then other. It’s a long process, it’s a lot of work and that’s the answer to that particular question.

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