Convicting a defendant in the court of public opinion

Convicting a defendant in the court of public opinion

On behalf of Neuberger & Partners LLP posted in Sexual Assault on Wednesday April 16, 2014.

Canadian law says that anyone accused of a crime will be considered innocent until he or she is proven guilty. Without this rule in place, it might be incredibly common for individuals to be convicted on the nature of the charges alone. The more repulsive, frightening or serious the crime, the harder it would be not to convict the individual. Fortunately for people in Toronto, the rule is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The nature of sex crimes makes them immediately unpopular. There are very few people who are willing to stick up for people who have been charged with sexual assault, which just goes to show that defendants who have had charges dropped or who have been acquitted will likely face a long road in order to rebuild their reputations.

There have been two doctors who have been charged with sexual assault, gang sexual assault and administering a drug with intent to stupefy, charges that could ruin their careers. If they are convicted, they will likely be stripped of their licenses and unable to practice following their punishments. Even if they are acquitted, however, they may find it difficult to find patients to treat, what with the recent sexual assault allegations.

The men stand accused of raping a woman after providing her with a date rape drug. The evidence that is being presented consists of a lack of a date rape drug in the woman’s system and a few flashbacks the woman has had. This is not to say that the woman is lying about being sexually assault, but simply the possibility of an assault having happened is not really enough to convict these men of such serious crimes.

Source: National Post, “Toronto gang sex assault trial hinges on whether doctors drugged alleged victim,” Christie Blatchford, April 14, 2014


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