What factors are considered in self-defence claims? Month: January 2015

Month: January 2015

What factors are considered in self-defence claims?

When a physical altercation between two individuals results in injury, someone is likely to be arrested if police are called to the scene. However, not everyone charged with assault is guilty, and determination of whether an act was an assault requires consideration of a variety of factors. For example, defence of person is one kind of criminal defence that can result in a verdict of not guilty. Under the Canadian Criminal Code, a defendant is not guilty of assault if the following can be shown in court: The defendant reasonably believed that force was being used against him or her,…

What is an ignition interlock device, and will I need one?

The Ignition Interlock Program is only one of the tools Ontario is using to combat impaired driving in the province. Essentially, an ignition interlock device is a small electronic machine that is installed near the driver's seat and is wired into your vehicle's system. In order to start the car, you must blow into the machine. The device will then automatically calculate your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. If it is too high, the car simply will not start. Once you are on the road, you must continue to provide periodic breath samples. If you fail to do so — or if…

What rights do I have before, during and after an arrest?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms specifically addresses the rights of individuals who have been detained by police or charged with a crime. If the police detain or arrest you, then you have a right to be told the reason why. The charter also states that everyone "has a right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure." If at any point before, during or after an arrest your charter rights are violated, then the charge against you may be challenged on those grounds. With these matters in mind, let's consider a number of other rights that could be…

Man accused of Toronto assault exonerated by video evidence

Deception may not be their intention, but witnesses in criminal cases are not always reliable. As time passes, memory fades or becomes a distortion of the actual event, and often people develop inaccurate reconstructions that could potentially lead to the conviction of the accused. Witnesses may also be susceptible to undue influence from police officers and prosecutors, and cross-examination by a criminal defence lawyer is needed to arrive at the facts of the matter. A judge in Toronto recently found inconsistencies in witness accounts of an alleged assault in a shopping mall. The defendant, a young man from South Sudan,…

Understanding specific kinds of sex crime charges involving minors

Because allegations of sexual offences involving minors evoke such strong public reaction, and because the penalties for such crimes are extremely serious, anyone accused of a child sex offence should have legal representation the moment it becomes apparent that an investigation could happen. Not everyone accused of a child sex offence is guilty, and in any case, the prosecution will tell its side of the story. Every defendant has a right to tell his or hers. If you have been charged with a sex crime involving a minor, then the first thing you need to understand is the nature of…

Mandatory minimum sentence avoided after police violate Charter rights

Some criminal charges result in mandatory minimum sentences upon conviction. For example, a person accused of Internet luring, which usually involves use of the Internet to solicit sexual acts or favors from a minor, can face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year. However, every case is different and must be scrutinized for mistakes on the part of police and prosecutors. Sometimes police violate the Charter rights of the accused, and sometimes prosecutors leave out additional evidence that might help the defendant's case. With these issues in mind, consider an Oshawa judge's recent sentencing of a man who was…

Preparing a custom defence in domestic violence cases

Recently we discussed a new method of risk assessment being used by Ontario police officers investigating domestic violence calls. The officers use 13 questions to determine whether the person accused of domestic violence is likely to re-offend, and depending on the factors in the case, the assessment could be used in court to oppose bail for the accused. Generally, when police are called to the scene of a domestic incident, you can assume that an arrest is likely. Someone is probably going to jail, even if the evidence never leads to a conviction. What is certain is that anyone accused of a…

Police in Ontario using new risk assessment in domestic incidents

Individuals accused of domestic violence in Ontario often encounter obstacles to being released on bail. This can limit not only an accused individual's ability to move about freely while mounting a criminal defence; the terms of release on bail can also affect matters of child custody and access, as well as the accused person's right to return to the home where the domestic incident allegedly occurred. Police in Ontario have started using a new assessment tool to determine whether a person accused of domestic violence should be released on bail. Recently in Hamilton, a court considered the Ontario Domestic Abuse Risk…


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