Sexual Assault and Sexual Offences
Sexual Assault includes the definition of assault, a person is accused of assault when the person is alleged to have applied force intentionally to another person without the other persons consent, but also adds the allegation that the touching be for a specific purpose, sexual. There is no crime of “rape” in Canada. The offence is sexual assault, and it includes everything from an unwanted touching allegations, to penetration.
The prosecutor must prove non-consent beyond a reasonable doubt, and even if there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no consent there may still be reason to believe that the accused had an honest but mistaken belief in consent. It is not sufficient to simply declare that the Court “believes” as portrayed in the media.
Issues arise where an accused is in a position to testify, because the court will be left in a reasonable doubt, unless the accused is disbelieved. However, even if the accused is disbelieved the Court may still be left in a reasonable doubt on the evidence of the accused that they do accept. Finally, even if the accused is entirely disbelieved, and the Court accepts none of the accused persons evidence the Court may still be left in a reasonable doubt on the evidence they do accept.
There are case specific issues applicable to each individual case, however, Mr. Royer has successfully defended numerous accused charged with sexual assault. The ability to successfully attack the credibility of Crown witnesses and create a reasonable doubt in the case for the prosecution is an important aspect of successfully defending those charged with sexual assault. A successful cross-examination of the complainant will often create a reasonable doubt, based on Mr. Royer’s experience.