Any violent crime, and domestic assault
in particular, is a serious matter. For those facing charges for domestic assault, just as serious is the need for a strong criminal defence strategy. Consider the case of a domestic assault that recently came before the court in St. Catherines, Ontario.
A 23-year old Niagara man got into a dispute with his partner, which escalated into a physical altercation. Alcohol was allegedly involved in the incident, and both parties became engaged in what the judge called a "mutual consent fight." Reportedly, after the female victim threw a chair at the man, he proceeded to head butt her, at which point she fell down a flight of stairs. A concussion and a broken nose were the resulting injuries.
The man was arrested on Jan. 20, 2015, and spent more than five days in custody awaiting trial. In April of last year, he pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm. On July 25, 2016, he again appeared in court, this time to receive sentencing from a judge at the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines.
During court sessions, the man's defence lawyer presented evidence to suggest he was a good person capable of rehabilitation who had lead a troubled life. The court heard that, although he had been abandoned by his mother as a young child and been on his own since the age of 15, he had still managed to win an athletic scholarship, maintain employment, and he was receiving counselling. The judge considered all these factors, and despite the serious nature of the offense, agreed to a sentence of 12 months probation, rather than jail time.
Criminal cases, including those involving domestic assault, are not always black and white in nature, making the job of the criminal defence team very important. In cases like this one, a strong defence plan may lessen the severity of the consequences a convicted individual faces. For many accused individuals, along with those who have been convicted, the opportunities to have the courts consider less severe sentences can have dramatic impacts on the future.