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Bill C-51 and its Implications. Category: Sexual Assault

Category: Sexual Assault

Bill C-51 and its Implications.

What is Bill C-51?   According to the Government of Canada’s website it is, “Legislation introduced by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on June 6, 2017 [that] reflects the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to ensure that Canada’s criminal justice system protects Canadians, holds offenders to account, shows compassion to victims, and upholds the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” Advocates for those falsely accused of sex crimes have a different interpretation. While the Bill is meant to “ensure that victims of sexual assault and gender-based violence are treated with the utmost compassion and respect”, it…

The Common Use of Domestic and Sexual Assault Allegations

We live in an age where sexual assault and domestic violence allegations are being taken more seriously than ever before. And for the true victims of these crimes, this comes as a welcome relief.  Sadly however, there are those that would take advantage of the seriousness of such allegations and falsely use them to their own benefit. Being falsely accused of domestic violence - whether an assault or sexual assault - is common in high conflict divorce cases.  These allegations are often used to gain an advantage in family court proceedings particularly when access and custody is an issue.  These…

CAPACITY TO CONSENT TO SEXUAL ACTIVITY

Joseph A. Neuberger, LL.B., LL.M., C.S. Neuberger & Partners LLP   Having defended well over 1000 sexual assault cases, a considerable percentage have involved alleged sexual assaults when both parties have been drinking or under the influence of a drug.  The thrust of the prosecution case is that as a result of the complainant’s level of intoxication, she or he lacked the capacity to consent to sex. Often during cross-examination the complainant alleges that “he knew I was drunk, and I couldn’t’ consent”.  The legal error with this is that the law is very clear and well established that a…

Sexual Assault Allegations and the Presumption of Innocence

Any criminal allegation must be proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt. All persons accused of an offence are innocent until proven guilty. That is the presumption of innocence. A sacrosanct principle that is crucial to any legitimate criminal justice system - the fundamental requirement of fairness. However, the mere statement of a complaintant can and often does result in the laying of charges. In a trial, oral evidence of a complaintant is sufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt without any other evidence to support the allegation. Unfortunately the stigma and repercussions resulting from a…

Sexual assault in Ontario: Understanding the age of consent

The age of consent for having sex is an often debated issue. It is an important question to have answered, however, since it can be the difference between something completely permissible or sexual assault, if one of the individuals in question is still at a young age. For instance, what happens when a 15-year-old female and a 21-year-old male have sex? In a particular case that involved the Ontario Court of Appeals, it was determined that the female initiated the sexual encounter, even though the age of consent in Ontario is 16. During the initial trial, the male was actually…

New evidence presented in Toronto police sexual assault trial

Sexual assault trials are high-stakes affairs for those on both sides of the allegation. These cases are notoriously complex, especially when substance use is involved. This week, the defence for Toronto police officers accused of sexual assault produced video evidence that raised questions for jurors and the general public alike. During closing arguments, the defence showed a video of an intoxicated man being led into a hotel by his friend. The man, who is one of the accused in the case, was barely able to stand. Further video evidence showed the alleged victim leaving the hotel upright with no apparent issues. The…

Teacher facing multiple sexual assault accusations from students

To work in a profession that requires one to be in a position of trust can be both a blessing and a curse. The public generally holds such people in high regard; doctors, police officers, teachers and others have respect in their communities. They are also held to a higher standard than most other professionals. When allegations of misconduct circulate, public reaction can be swift and strong, even before a conviction. An Ontario teacher facing charges of sexual assault likely knows all this first hand. Peel Regional Police arrested a Brampton high school teacher on June 6. The teacher is accused of having…

Toronto Uber driver accused of sexual assault by young passenger

The dynamic of a taxi is a unique one: one driver transporting perhaps only one passenger, a complete stranger, to another destination in the driver's car. It is impossible for anyone other than the occupants of the vehicle to know exactly what transpires through the duration of the trip. An accusation of criminal wrongdoing may be merely a case of "he said, she said" and yet can cause a major legal problem for the accused individual. A Toronto Uber driver is wrestling with that very problem after his arrest for sexual assault. The alleged incident reportedly occurred on Jan. 27. A 15-year-old…

Toronto man arrested for alleged sexual assault on pregnant woman

As has been mentioned in this blog before, media scrutiny makes it difficult for anyone accused of a crime to lead a normal life. Although any person suspected of committing a crime is innocent until and unless shown to be otherwise, that will not prevent the media from circulating the name and photograph of someone accused of a crime. It's a difficult situation for any person, but that shouldn't prevent him or her from pursuing justice. A recent example involves a Toronto man charged with two counts of sexual assault. The first incident allegedly took place somewhere between June 1 and July 31,…

Allegations of sexual assault against Toronto transit rider

These are volatile times for gender relations issues. How society perceives sexual assault, and how the legal system deals with it, are under intense scrutiny of late. Without a doubt, sex crimes are a serious matter, and it is good to maintain an open dialogue with hopes of changing how people think about these types of crimes. It is, however, a very bad time for anyone accused of sexual assault, as a recently arrested Toronto man will no doubt agree. The alleged incident happened on April 24, at Kennedy subway station. An 18-year-old woman claims that at about 12:30 a.m. a…

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