The words “sexual assault” are certainly not positive. Few people in Toronto are willing to defend individuals accused of sexual offences because the charges alone are enough to make the suspects social pariahs. Yet, just like anyone else charged with a crime in Canada, people arrested on suspicion of sexual assault are presumed innocent. Only if the Crown can make a compelling case based on facts and evidence, not emotion, can the individual be found guilty and sentenced. Without sufficient evidence, however, the individual must be let go and the charges dropped.
There is a high bar to conviction and one that the Crown cannot overcome by stirring up the jury’s emotions. This makes it incredibly difficult to convict anyone if the alleged victim can’t be found and there is no impartial evidence that confirms a crime has been committed. If the two men who are accused of sexually assaulting a woman outside a social outreach agency in Dundas/Sherbourne are ever picked up by police, the Crown is going to need more than the surveillance footage police are currently relying upon to complete their investigation.
According to The Toronto Star, the organization had no idea the apparent assault happened until employees watched its security camera footage. It is not entirely clear if the footage shows exactly what happened to the woman and the woman cannot be found to ask. Based on security footage alone, it is unknown if the Crown would be able to convict the young men.
Sexual offences are very serious crimes, which is why it is so important that anyone who is charged makes sure to question all evidence that is presented. Being convicted on subpar or insufficient evidence may mean considerable time behind bars for a crime that one never committed.
Source: The Toronto Star, “Sex assaults on sleeping street woman raise questions all around: DiManno,” Rosie DiManno, 27 Nov. 2013