Sexual Assault

Roxana was recently involved in very serious Sexual Assault cases. A Sexual Assault case is rarely straightforward for the Crown Prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Roxana has drafted applications and subpoenas in the long process of a Sexual Assault case. In the most recent case she was involved with, the multiple counts of Sexual Assault, Sexual Interference, Invitation to Touch, all within the context of sexual assault on a minor, were stayed. This means that the Crown dropped the charges and the accused was  free to go.

Frequently Asked Questions: Sexual Assault

What is Sexual Assault?

What is Sexual Assault?

In order to secure a conviction for Sexual Assault, the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • there was touching
  • the contact was of sexual nature
  • there was no consent – this is a subjective element and it is only sufficient for the complainant to testify as to his/her state of mind
  • intent to touch the complainant – the Crown need only prove that there was an intent to touch rather than an intent to have contact of a sexual nature without consent

There are a number of defences that exist, some of which are:

  • Attacking credibility of complainant. You didn’t do it.
  • Defence of mistake of fact. You honestly but mistakenly believed that you had consent to touch the complainant.
  • Attacking lack of evidence, which can also go to the credibility of the complainant.
  • Making submissions on all factors: body part touched, nature of contact, words or gestures including threats, accused’s intent or purpose, presence or absence of sexual gratification
  • Other defence strategies dependent on the circumstances of your case

An important element in your defence is your statement. You may be tempted to say that you never touched the complainant but later your DNA is found there. You may be tempted to take a deal from the police. Remember to always call a lawyer before talking to the police. Exercise your right to remain silent and your right to counsel.


Again, it is important to call a lawyer early in the case: the Crown can choose to elect by indictment or summarily. Your lawyer thus has an opportunity early on to influence a charge to become a summary charge:

        (a) An indictable offence leads to: imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

       (b) An offence punishable on summary conviction leads to: imprisonment for a term not exceeding 18 months and, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.