I’m going to be talking to you today about the range of sentences for sexual assault if you’re convicted or plead guilty of sexual assault in Ontario now range of sentences is very wide as you might imagine because a sexual assault can comprise of like, you know, no sexual assaults minor but a less aggravated, lesser end of the scale, if you will, let’s say a person grabbed a woman’s buttocks in a bar, up to a very serious rape involving bodily harm, for example, or even aggravated sexual assault involving endangerment of life.
So, I want to focus on that minor end of the scale up to say, let’s call it a date rape where the man and one woman went on a date and there was not physical violence, but there wasn’t consent and no injuries. So, let’s talk about first of all, let’s talk about that. So, for a sexual assault involving sexual intercourse in Ontario where there’s no injuries by the way, there’s always psychological injuries, no physical injuries, the range of sentences quite wide. I would say the range of sentences currently in Ontario seems to always be increasing quite properly. So, and I say this as defence counsel that I think people should be sentenced significantly for raping someone. There’s no question, but the current range is from two to three years in jail, essentially. I mean, I occasionally see sentences of 18 months but there’s particular circumstances for their involved in the background, like maybe a very youthful offender. Maybe the facts supportive but it’s tough to get that so two or three years, depending on the facts, and depending on your background the Judge is always going to look at the facts of the sexual intercourse how that transpired during the rape by the way, I’m using the term rape but it’s not really a term we use in Canadian criminal law, but it’s something of course, we all understand what it means. So, two to three years and you know, 2.5 is often typical sentence. So that’s what I’ll call it a date rape. No consent, no physical injuries, but obviously, that’s a serious type of sexual intercourse, rape. Now going to the other end of the scale, for you know, a quick buttock grab that’s nonconsensual. That’s a sexual assault and it’s serious to no question. I don’t mean to minimize it, or a minor type breast grab. You might be able to avoid a criminal record, you might be able to plead guilty and receive a conditional discharge. It’s getting increasingly hard to get that but certainly you’ll probably will avoid jail on them. And then there’s all cases in between. For example, you know, more touching or digital penetration. Those sentences can be in the you know, you climb up the scale that can mean digital penetration you could be looking at 12 to 15 well, and I don’t necessarily think 18 months, so, so that’s kind of a range, you’re doing some breast grabbing, maybe certainly avoiding a jail term. Once you get up the slope of digital penetration, definitely looking at months in jail. Obviously oral sex is serious too. You might be looking at 18 months to two years. In jail for that type of thing. Sexual assaults and no bodily harm no now once we get into bodily harm, you know my God, you’re the you’re deserving what you get, obviously, you’re looking at you know, depending on the level of body harm easily five years sometimes more aggravated sexual assault, you know, you could be looking at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 years depending on the severity but or if its endangering life maybe, you know, it’s a maximum 14 years from aggravated assault, by the way.
So, it’s really dependent on the facts of the case and the background of offender. If you’re a person of good character, that benefits you. So, for example, if you’re a prior person of good character youthful offenders say 20 years old, date rape, you might be like it’s something like two years 18 I don’t think so. don’t have quite as good a background, maybe a little bit more severe in terms of the force you use 2.5 to three years might be more and more akin to it, aggravated assault, the throwing away the key on you. cases involving the horrific cases involving children. You know, they they’re going to throw away the key on you, there’s mandatory minimums, but that’s just for the most minimum, I mean, sexual interference touching, child invitation to sexual touching the most minor end of the scale and it just touched the thigh. The minimum there’s mandatory minimums for that, three months, if they elect summarily if they elect by indictment, it’s one year but sentences are usually much higher than that. I mean, sexual intercourse involving a child you’re going to be looking at, you know, 6, 7, 8 9, 10 years 11 , depending on the on the severity of it, and you well, the person deserves it. There’s no question about that. So, the range of sentences for sexual assault varies very widely and really depends on the facts and your background. If you have a prior criminal record for sexual assault, God help you their going to throw away the book on you. You deserve it, I’m sure. And you’re going to be looking at SOIRA orders like this which means a sexual offense registry you can be on there for up to 20 years, which to monitor you. There can be periods of probation for sentences of under two years, they go on probation for up to three years. So very significant penalties, you can only avoid jail when it’s on the most minor end of the scale. You can only maybe avoid a criminal record when it’s on the most minor end of the scale, on the other end of the scale is throwing you in jail for long, long periods of time. And, you know, the case law is all over the map but as a defence counsel, when I’m doing sentencing submissions, I present case briefs and the range of sentence. And both the crown and defence are trying to suggest the appropriate range for the judge. We can often agree on that. By the way, there’s often joint submissions, and you have to realize like a significant part of defence counsel’s work is negotiating and resolving cases it’s not all about trial work. So this is a very important part of defence work is you know, sometimes clients tell me they’re guilty and we work out what is the appropriate sentence because there is an appropriate sentence for every crime including sexual assault.