Many of my sexual assault clients have asked me this question over the years that they, for example, were in a relationship with this person who’s now accused him of sexual violence against him, sexual rape or sexual assault many years ago or even recently, and they say they have looked quote/ unquote, dirt and the person they know they’re a bad person. They know that they are dishonest in this sort of thing. I can prove it. I’ve got this proof I can call other witnesses. And I have to slow them down. I said, woah woah, timeout, timeout. There’s rules of evidence and fundamental rule of evidence is in criminal court; you tend have to stick to the germane issue of relevance of proving the case, disproving the case. Now, there’s exceptions to every rule. With a sexual assault victim, in any witness, really, you’re allowed to get into, you’re allowed to cross examine to a certain extent on bad character and let me give you an example. So I had a case that I recently did, so I had a case where my client was accused of many years ago of sexually assaulting a younger man. And we had evidence that this person first of all we knew they had a serious criminal record for crimes of dishonesty and drugs. We had some knowledge that they were in and around the time of the events were involved in you know, dishonesty, drug dealing, you know, heavy cocaine use that can affect memory and this sort of thing. So, so let’s talk about the criminal record, first of all, so a fundamental rule is I’m allowed to put to them that they’ve got a criminal record and look, you’ve been convicted of A,B,C,D crimes of dishonesty, I’m allowed even delve into the facts of those and say, well, you dealt a pound of cocaine, you dealt this, you stole from here, and this shows their credit that there might not be a credible witness. As far as the other evidence goes, that they were involved in drug dealing per se, if I have a good faith basis to put that to them, and I do, I approve of that. And they admit it, that’s great. If they deny it, I’m stuck with the answer. I can’t because it’s a corollary issue. It’s a collateral issue. That is not part of the main proof of the case. So that’s, that’s, that’s called the collateral fact rule. Now, fortunately, this particular person did not have really admitted because he probably knew I had to prove so I was able to prove that they were generally leading a near do well lifestyle, the time of use of drugs, that’s important too, because drugs can affect memory, they were addicted to oxys addicted to cocaine. And again, if they would not admit it that but he did, I would not have been able to offer extrinsic proof of that because it’s not part of the main issue. So quick recap, criminal records, I can introduce I can induce underlying facts in fact, if they deny it, I can actually prove the record and prove the facts, or the record at least.  Other collateral issues of bad character evidence of their bad lifestyle of drug dealing, generally of why generally, if I had a good faith basis for it as a lawyer, I can’t just make things up. I can put the two in them. If it’s denied, I’m stuck with the answer. But in many cases, victims of crime who were falling into this kind of bad character person, they don’t know that and they’ll admit things not always it’s denied and you’re stuck with the answer but the most powerful weapon now a bad character evidence is a criminal record. Because if someone let’s face it, some of those guys, convictions for theft, convictions for drugs, convictions for this, crimes of moral turpitude crimes that show of bad character, it clearly affects your credibility. And I’ve won cases just on that basis. Whoa, whoa, this person lives consistently. They got essentially a record for crimes of dishonesty in lying obstruction of justice, for example. So there’s a quick primer on how bad character evidence can be used against a sexual assault victim who’s truly a person of bad character. You know,  most trials,  you know, I’ve done how many sexual assaults over the years literally dozens, maybe up to 100 Over the years, but in my career, at least, I can count on one hand that were had this true type of evidence and those are pretty easy wins when you have that type of evidence, especially a person with a  criminal record, let’s face it, and who’s involved in drug dealing, who was involved in a lifestyle that you can show is a lifestyle of lying essentially. So there you have it, that’s a little bit of primer on this type of bad character evidence against victims of sexual assault or I should say alleged victims, and I just want to mention that our firm has offices in Toronto, London, Kitchener in Windsor, we also represent, you know, sexual abuse charges, all kinds of crimes, sexual crimes. across Ontario, including other type of offences. And if you want to get free sample or Toronto sexual assault lawyers a call for a free consultation, feel free to do so we’ll help you out and give you some good advice.
By Published On: July 20, 2023Last Updated: October 5, 2023Categories: Sexual Assault, Video

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