SEXUAL ASSAULT DEFINED

In essence, sexual assault involves an unwanted touching of a sexual nature. The charge of sexual assault arises therefore, when an allegation is made that an accused violated the sexual integrity of a complainant for a sexual purpose. The assault portion of the offence is touching with the intention to touch. The sexual purpose is defined by both the act and the surrounding circumstances.

DEFENCES TO SEXUAL ASSAULT

The most common defences to a sexual assault charge are a denial of the incident (such as “I didn’t do it”), or consent (such as “we agreed to have sex”). Consent is not established however, where the Client was wilfully blind or reckless as to whether consent was obtained. These defences often require delicate, but nevertheless effective handling of a complainant(s), some of whom can be quite young. Mr. Israels’ experience and success in dealing with sexual assault cases provide him an effective tool in cross examining children, teenage, and adult complainants (see recent cases).

SEXUAL INTERFERENCE

The offence of sexual interference involves a person, who, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years. This offence – depending on how the Crown elects to proceed – carries a minimum jail sentence if the Accused person is convicted. If the Crown proceeds Summarily (the “less” serious means of proceeding with a criminal charge), the Accused person faces a minimum of 14 days in jail and up to 18 months. On the other hand, should the Crown elect to proceed by Indictment (the “more” serious method), an Accused person faces a minimum of 45 days in jail and up 10 years. In other words, it is essential that a person charged with such an offence have experienced and well prepared legal counsel in order to effectively handle this sort of offence – there is no second chance.

INVITATION TO SEXUAL TOUCHING

The offence of invitation to sexual touching involves a person, who, for a sexual purpose, invites, counsels or incites a person under the age of 16 years to touch directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, the body of any person, including the body of the person who so invites, counsels or incites and the body of the person under the age of 16 years. This offence – depending on how the Crown elects to proceed – carries a minimum jail sentence if the Accused person is convicted. If the Crown proceeds Summarily (the “less” serious means of proceeding with a criminal charge), the Accused person faces a minimum of 14 days in jail and up to 18 months. On the other hand, should the Crown elect to proceed by Indictment (the “more” serious method), an Accused person faces a minimum of 45 days in jail and up 10 years. In other words, it is essential that a person charged with such an offence have experienced and well prepared counsel in order to effectively handle this sort of offence – there is no second chance.

DEFENCES TO SEXUAL INTERFERENCE and INVITATION TO SEXUAL TOUCHING

In Canada, the age of consent is 16 years old; which translates in law to the fact that a person under the age of 16 (subject to the age of the Accused), cannot consent to any form of sexual touching or sexual activity. As a result, the only defence to the charges of sexual interference and/or any form of sexual touching with a person under the age of 16 years old is a denial of the act itself, or the defence of honest but mistaken belief as to the age of the complainant. When putting forth a “denial” defence of “I did not do it”, the Client is generally required to testify in order to refute the allegation. In terms of the defence regarding honest but mistaken belief, here too the Client will have to testify in order to outline the appropriate steps s/he took in order to determine the age of the complainant as being 16 years of age or older. These defences often require delicate, but nevertheless effective handling of a complainant(s), some of whom can be quite young. Mr. Israels’ experience and success in dealing with sexual assault cases (see recent cases), provide him with an effective tool in cross examining children and teenage complainants under the age of 16 years old. In light of the fact that the Client typically will testify in these sorts of cases, it is equally as important to ensure that the Client is well prepared for cross examination by the Prosecutor. Given Mr. Israels’ former training as a Crown Prosecutor for 5 ½ years, he knows and understands the types of issues and typical questioning that relate to such offences – all of which is canvassed with the Client in order to ensure proper preparation of full answer and defence to the specific criminal charge.