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What Are The Chances That My Sexual Assault Case Will Be Dropped?

I want to talk to you today about a sexual assault matter.  You are charged with sexual assault, you come to our office and say “Mr. Kruse, what are the odds of this matter being dropped without going to trial?”  That’s a very common question I face and at that point we don’t have the disclosure, so I have no idea what the odds are. But once we reviewed the disclosure, let’s take a situation where, the crown recognizes that there’s no reasonable prospect of conviction, in other words, the crown has reviewed all the evidence, they don’t feel that there’s a case here at all, in that situation, and that’s a rare circumstance by the way because usually, going to intend to believe, the victim, no matter, even if there’s holes in the case, even if there’s inconsistencies. But if the crown could come to that point, they should, withdraw the case. However, politically in the province, I have seen many situations, where they knew they had a very weak case, and they didn’t want to face the wrath of the victim, and or a complainant, and they continued with the case.  So there’s no guarantee even if the crown feels that they have a weak case, that they are going to withdraw. So that’s one possibility, that’s the test, it should be applied, it’s not always applied.  If you look at it this way, politically, sometimes you can’t blame, a crown for this, because they are just doing their job. They should apply the test, but you recognize situations where they might not. They are not going to tell you that either that they are not doing that, they are just mentally in their mind. You know, I’m going to go forward with this case. It’s easier to run a case, isn’t it, for the government than withdraw it. In that situation, we are going to push hard to try and withdraw it and you know, help the crown, or assist the crown in making the right decision.  

The other very narrow situation where they might withdraw a sexual assault matter, and I say “might”, let’s say that the alleged victim comes down the road months later, and says to the crown, look, I’m psychologically, you know, in counseling right now, I simply can’t testify, this is killing me, I’m under stress, in that situation, depending on the situation, the crown might, consider withdrawing that charge. Again, they don’t’ have to.  It’s not the victim, who’s in charge of the prosecution, sometimes they will force the victim on in that situation, they will say to the victim, “Well, are you able to testify?”  “Well, yes I am but it’s killing me” Well the crown’s got to weight that situation. I have seen situations that where they will withdraw it then, some crowns will some crowns won’t. It depends on how psychologically affected, in terms of mental health issues, that the victim is facing. So, those are two examples and the two key examples of where a charge, might be withdrawn, a sexual assault matter before a trial is held.

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