Our clients often ask us how long does it take in terms of the number of   hours of preparation and work to properly represent them on a sexual assault case.  So let’s talk about a serious sexual assault case involving a rape involving extensive disclosure, video statements, forensic evidence and many days defending the client at trial, whether it’s a jury trial or judge alone.   I’m going to start from the initial client intake shortly after the client was charged with the offence and estimate the hours involved right through to the end of the trial. You are going to be surprised with the answer. Properly defending a client on any sexual assault charge involves a lot of careful and detailed work.  It is hard to provide an exact estimate as every case and factual situation is different, but I find the range is from at least, one hundred and fifty hours up to several hundred hours.  I have spent on some big cases, two or three hundred hours and up to 500 hours working on a case, but many cases may be about one hundred and fifty to two hundred hours. It requires a lot of work. There are initial court appearances and review and analysis of all the disclosure in the context of the client’s version of events There are endless meetings with the client. There are many meetings with the Crown.  There are meetings with judges before the trial commences.   There is extensive and laborious trial preparation. There’s preparation of pre-trial applications, drafting complex and lengthy factums, filing Charter issues, Seaboyer application and third party records application and attendance in court to argue the pre-trial applications or Charter applications. The list goes on and on. There are often written legal submissions that have to be filed with the court.  In order to properly prepare the client to testify takes at least ten hours or more on that issue alone. We need to take the client through mock examinations and mock cross examinations to get them ready for the questions they are going to be facing at trial.   A criminal lawyer needs to   extensively prepare   to cross examine the complainant and review, analyze and organize   all of the documentary, forensic and video materials. A defence lawyer will have boxes and boxes of these materials for even a minor sexual assault case.  So it takes a lot of time and specialized effort.  It also takes a lot of drive, perseverance, commitment, skill and experience to win these case. It’s not like the lawyer just shows up in court and starts talking or winging it like we often see on television. It’s all about the background preparation.  The ‘devil is in the details’ for any criminal charge and especially for a sexual assault case. It   takes hours and hours of tirelessly sitting at and concentrating at a desk in the lawyer’s office and night times at home, pouring over materials or working with the client, to properly prepare and then of course, many days in court, and many sleepless nights endlessly preparing leading up to the trial and every night during the trial and then on the weekends if the trial takes longer than one week.   Usually any good criminal lawyer will tell you if they are working on a jury or judge alone sexual assault case, they will work until one in the morning during each trial day and then get up at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. to prepare and then attend the trial and repeat this pattern for days on end until the trial completes. It is not for the faint of heart and takes a unique individual to excel in this type of career.   We literally eat, sleep, and breathe the case, and that is the only way to win a sexual assault case or any other criminal trial for that matter.  Tireless preparation and sheer will to win to is the hallmark of a good criminal lawyer, including for sexual assault matters.

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