What is Sexual Assault?
A sexual assault includes any assault of a sexual nature.
There are different types of Assault. Are there different types of sexual assault?
Yes. There are 3 different sexual assault offences; (1) sexual assault, (2) sexual assault with a weapon or sexual assault causing bodily harm, and (3) aggravated sexual assault.
What is Consent?
Consent is defined in section 273.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada as “the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.
Consent is not defined where (1) consent is given by someone other than the complainant, (2) the person is incapable of giving consent, (3) consent is induced by abusing a position of trust, (4) the person expresses a lack of agreement to engage in the particular sexual activity, (5) the person having consented, now expresses a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the sexual activity.
Can I Avoid a Jail Sentence if I am Convicted?
Yes, depending upon the circumstances of the offence. If the alleged sexual assault is very minor in nature, then it is possible to avoid a jail sentence with a suspended sentence or a discharge. However in most circumstances you are likely to receive a jail sentence upon conviction. If you do receive a jail sentence you will not be eligible for a conditional sentence (a jail sentence served in the community) unless you were charged with simple sexual assault and the Crown Attorney proceeded summarily.
What are the Defences to Sexual Assault?
Consent is often a defence raised in cases of sexual assault. Whether consent was given is an issue for trial that the trier of fact must decide based upon the evidence presented.
Identity can also be an issue in a sexual assault case, particularly where the alleged attacker wore a mask or used any other object to conceal his or her identity.
What is the Penalty for Sexual Assault?
The penalty for sexual assault will depend on the type of sexual assault offence you are charged with. The maximum penalty for simple sexual assault is 10 years imprisonment where the Crown Attorney proceeds by indictment and 18 months in jail where the Crown proceeds summarily.
The maximum penalty for sexual assault with a weapon or sexual assault causing bodily harm is 14 years imprisonment. There are also mandatory minimum penalties where a firearm was used in the course of the sexual assault.
The maximum penalty for aggravated sexual assault is life imprisonment. There are also minimum penalties for aggravated sexual assault where a firearm was used in the course of the offence.
What is the Sex Offender Registry?
The National Sex Offender Registry was created pursuant to the Sex Offender Information Registration Act. The purpose of the Sex Offender Registry is to create a registration system of all individuals who have been convicted of designated sexual offence.
While the public does not have access to the database of registered offenders, all Canadian police agencies do have access. The information collected includes;
- Name of the offender
- Date of birth of the offender.
- Current address of the offender.
- An up-to-date photograph.
- Any vehicle information belonging to the offender.
- Employment and address of employment for the offender.
- Sexual offences for which the offender has been convicted.
For more information on the Sex Offender Registry see the RCMP website.
I have been charged with Sexual Assault. What do I do?
You should contact a criminal defence lawyer immediately. A conviction for sexual assault may result in a significant jail sentence and can impact your ability to find and maintain future employment.
Call me or email me today if you have been charged with sexual assault or you have a question sexual assault.