Possible defences to domestic abuse charges
On behalf of Neuberger & Partners LLP posted in Domestic Violence on Friday February 19, 2016.
Domestic violence charges are one of many criminal charges someone who resides in the Greater Toronto Area might face. Depending on the situation it is possible the case could involve not only criminal charges but family court issues as well. Though an arrest for this crime can set off a series of consequences before a trial even occurs, a conviction is not a foregone conclusion. Accordingly, it is important that all in this situation take the matter seriously. The best way to do this is work with a criminal defence lawyer who is well versed in both systems.
Depending on the specifics of the situation there are several defence approaches that may be taken.
Self-defence may be the first one that comes to mind. To be successful such a claim should be supported by evidence indicating the accused was not the initial aggressor, that it was reasonable for that individual to perceive there was an imminent threat and that his or her response was proportional considering the threat. In addition to cases of protecting themselves, it could also be asserted that the individual was protecting his or her children.
Another defence that might be offered is that the allegations of the abuse are false. To support this approach, evidence in the form of communications between the accused and his or her accuser or, contradictions found in existing family court documents that may be available, could be used.
The accused can also allege that it was actually someone else who inflicted the abuse. Among other things, under this approach it may be necessary to establish an alibi for the accused.
In certain situations consent might also be used as a defence. The situations in which this will be successful are likely not the ones in which most allegations will arise.
When circumstances do not exist under which the previous defences can be used, it is always possible to try to show the allegations are not backed by sufficient proof. If holes can be shown to exist in the Crown’s case, this approach could be successful.
How to best approach an allegation of domestic violence will depend upon the specific circumstances. A criminal defence lawyer can be of assistance in determining whether any of these make sense.
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