A sex crime charge is one of the most difficult charges a defendant can face because of the monstrous social stigma that’s attached. Even if you are never convicted, the damage done to your reputation, career, and family can be irrevocable.
What is Sexual Assault?
A sexual assault occurs where a complainant is subject to non-consensual sexual activity by the application of force of another person.
Sexual assault activities can range from groping to non-consensual sexual intercourse. Sexual assault may also be charged as offences such as sexual assault with a weapon, sexual assault causing bodily harm, aggravated sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation, and forcible confinement, among others.
Factors in Determining if an Assault was Sexual in Nature
To determine if an assault was sexual in nature, the court will examine the following factors:
- What were the circumstances surrounding the incident?
- What words or gestures accompanied the act?
- Which part of the body was touched?
- What was the nature of the touching?
Defending Sexual Assault Charges
It is critical to mount a thorough and complete defence to sexual assault charges. The most common defences are as follows:
- Identity. The complainant must be able to identify the accused as the person who committed the sexual assault. Sometimes forensic tools (e.g., DNA, fingerprints) are employed to verify identity.
- Sex did not occur. When the accused denies the act occurred, credibility stands as an the most important issue between the accused and the complainant.
- There was voluntary consent. The courts will find that consent is not available from the complainant in some situations, such as being too intoxicated to consent, not having the mental capacity to consent, revoking consent during the activity, or being a minor under age 16. In other words, the defence may argue there was sexual activity, but it was consensual between the parties.
- Mistaken belief in consent. An honest error may be claimed based on the complainant’s communication of consent, either through words or actions. However, the accused cannot rely on being intoxicated, willfully blind or reckless, or not taking reasonable steps to ascertain if the complainant was consenting.
When sexual assault allegations are historical, they can be very difficult to defend against. It is not unusual for sexual assault allegations to be made many years after an alleged incident, particularly when the incident involves a child. Rod Gregory has the skill and experience to overcome challenges in defending historical sexual assault charges.
The Need for Legal Protection
To best defend a sexual assault or sex crime case, you need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer who is committed to standing by your side. Mr. Gregory is this lawyer. He is a dedicated Edmonton sexual assault lawyer with over 30 years of experience, applying great attention to detail and using thorough representation to make a name for himself in the criminal defence sector.
Understanding your rights and the nuances of criminal law on your own are nearly impossible. Mr. Gregory will focus on a legal strategy to properly defend you on these most serious crimes.
Building a Strong Case
In order to properly defend a client in a sexual assault case, Mr. Gregory may be required to apply for the disclosure of third-party records. This is a very complex and difficult application, but Mr. Gregory has the experience needed to advance positions dealing with the complainant’s prior sexual history or in obtaining medical and psychiatric records. Mr. Gregory may also determine that expert evidence including psychologists, private investigators, and polygraph experts are required.
Many sexual assault trials are conducted with a jury. A jury does not rule on the admissibility of evidence, rather they are the finders of fact. They watch and assess witnesses to determine whether or not they are credible. It is the defence lawyer’s duty to cross-examines witnesses in front of the jury to expose frailties and inconsistencies in the evidence.
It is critical in a jury trial to prepare to give evidence if an accused person decides to testify.
The decision on whether to have a trial by jury is agreed upon by you and your lawyer. It is critical right the criminal justice system for serious charges to have a criminal trial heard and judged by your peers.