What happens if a husband or wife picks up the phone and calls 911 for the police to attend and says that they’ve been assaulted? Well, there’s policies and directives that the police have. So, under that scenario when they show up at someone’s house, and one of the spouses for example, discloses that there was a shove, a minor shove, the police are really directed to lay charges. Doesn’t matter if the alleged victim doesn’t want charges laid. A lot of people will phone 911 because they just want the police to come and settle an argument. There was hardly even an assault, I mean that is an assault, a shove. But I have seen situations where a husband or a wife has been charged, wives get charged too, we represent, a lot of women on these charges. A minor shove. No one wants charges laid and they can’t believe it. The charges getting laid, they just wanted to have police intervene and calm a volatile situation down.
Once the wheels of motion have been set in place. The police invariably are laying charges and that’s they really have little discretion and we can understand why, so it’s a province wide policy and it’s there for good reason. But it goes from the most minor touching really well not touching but a minor shove to shoulder right up to more serious assaults. So, what happens, let’s say it’s the man who made the complaint, he’s going to start phoning the crown attorney the next day to get the charges dropped. It doesn’t work that way. The victim really has little to no, really no say in whether charges proceed. It’s up to the prosecutor. I’ve seen situations as well where there was a very minor incident like maybe the party shoved each other minorly you know, on the shoulder, no one’s injured. They’re mad, they’re volatile. They’re screaming, yelling showing that the police show up. The police don’t know who to believe so they wind up charging both.
It seems a little bit like in my mind, there should be at least some small amount of discretion maybe a minor shoulder touching at least or push will go that far. Where no one’s injured and they don’t want charges laid. Perhaps the police could add discretion there. I completely understand beyond that. There should be no discretion but the clients are a little bit shocked about this because their wife wants them back. Their husband wants them back no one was injured. It’s the first time it’s ever happened in their life, cooler heads prevailed and you know, it’s not going to happen now. It’s being prosecuted, you have to deal with it. Or maybe in that situation if it’s so minor, we might be able to get a peace bond, maybe it’s even hard to get those these days but yeah, in a minor shoving situation, we might be able to get a peace bond but anything beyond that. No, you’re going to be, either go to trial or you’re going to be pleading guilty. So, it’s a delicate situation. I understand the conundrum the police are in they’re going into a volatile situation. They have little to no discretion. And this has been the policy and directives of Ministry of Attorney General and the police for a long time really ever since I started practicing law 33 years ago this is this is what’s going on and I used to be actually in charge of domestic assault prosecution in Windsor when it first started so I’ve dealt with all these cases. So, there you have it. That’s the directives and policy to place, if 911 calls being made, someone’s getting charged even the most minor assault. Minor allegation made at that time.