All You Need To Know About Sexual Assault Charges

April 21, 2023

All You Need To Know About Sexual Assault Charges

Criminal courts routinely hear sexual assault trials. Motives for such accusations are numerous, and the credibility of complainants is never assumed. Credibility and reliability are very important. Reliability refers to the circumstances of the allegation and inherent issues with the facts of the allegation, while credibility refers to general honesty.

Having an experienced sexual assault trial lawyer like Mr. Royer in court is extremely valuable. He has 20 years of experience, and not only has he developed his natural ability to cross-examine, but has also studied cross-examination techniques.

Elements Of Sexual Assault

In order to defend a sexual assault charge, a person must first understand the elements of the offence. (1) Touching for a sexual purpose, (2) without the consent of the complainant, and (3) with the intent of the accused.

The issues before the Court are generally stated in a jury charge as follows:

  1. Has the Crown proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the contact was for a sexual purpose, and if so;
  2. Has the Crown proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the complainant did not consent to such sexual contact, or the complainant withdrew his/her consent to sexual contact; and
  3. Did the accused know of such withdrawal or lack of consent, or was the accused reckless or wilfully blind with respect thereto, or did the accused have an honest mistaken belief in consent?

What Is A Reasonable Doubt?

The Crown must satisfy the Court beyond a reasonable doubt that, in each circumstance, the accused touched the complainant. That the touching was of a sexual nature and occurred in the absence of consent.

A reasonable doubt is a doubt based upon reason or common sense. There is no burden on the accused. The burden remains on the prosecutors. Their burden is to prove through evidence that is logically connected to the evidence that the accused is guilty.

Thus, reasonable doubt is not an imaginary or frivolous doubt, nor is it one based upon sympathy or prejudice. Juries are instructed that they must be certain of the guilt of the accused, and a reasonable doubt can arise based on a lack of evidence.

Also Read: Types Of Assaults And Their Consequences In Alberta

Credibility And Legal Guilt

If the Court concludes on the evidence or lack of evidence, when considered as a whole, only that the accused is probably guilty or likely guilty or that there is a strong suspicion of guilt, that is not enough, and the Court must acquit.

There is no battle for credibility. Put simply, if the accused is believed, and presuming he is testifying he is innocent, he will be acquitted. Even if the accused is not believed, it is open for a court to be left uncertain of the guilt of the accused, either based on the evidence of the accused or by the evidence as a whole.

Therefore, even if the complainant is believed, the accused can still receive an acquittal.

This area of law has become needlessly complex. An experienced lawyer can rely on fundamentals, hard work, preparation, and skills developed over decades to assist a wrongfully accused person. Daryl Royer is that type of lawyer.

About Daryl Royer

With 20 years of experience and a proven track record of successful defences, Daryl stands as one of the most highly reputable criminal defence lawyers in Edmonton. Learn more about Daryl Royer.

Need a defence for sexual assault charges? Contact Daryl now.

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