If you apply force intentionally to another person without legal justification, you may be guilty of assault. Similarly, if you intentionally attempt to or threaten to apply force; or if you stop another person while openly wearing a weapon you may be guilty of assault.
Assault is a criminal offence pursuant to section 265 of the Criminal Code. The offence is made out when a person intentionally applies force to another person without the consent of the other person. The force can be applied directly or indirectly. Assault is also defined as an attempt or threat by an act or gesture to apply force to another person. However, it is only an offence if the other person believes on reasonable grounds that there is present ability to effect the threat. And lastly, assault is also committed when a person accosts or impedes another person while openly carrying a weapon or an imitation weapon.
The criminal charge of assault is in the part of the Criminal Code that deals with offences against the person. There are a number of other assault related charges, including: Assault with a Weapon or Causing Bodily Harm Section 267; Aggravated Assault Section 268; Unlawfully Causing Bodily Harm Section 269; Assault against a Public Transit Operator Section 269.01; Torture Section 269.1; Assaulting a Peace Officer Section 270; and, Aggravated Assault of Peace Officer Section 270.02 Disarming a Peace Officer Section 270.1.
Defences to assault
Consent may be a defence to a charge of assault, but for consent to be legitimate, and in accordance with the Criminal Code, it must be voluntary. The Criminal Code explicitly states that there is no consent where the consent was obtained by application of force, by threat or fear, by fraud, and by the exercise of authority. If consent is raised as a defence, the trier of fact (the judge or the jury depending on the mode of trial), must consider whether the person had reasonable grounds for an honest belief that there was consent.
If you are charged with assault, there may be defences that apply to your case. For example, intention is an element of the offence. So in circumstances where the application of force was through carelessness or reflex the element of intention is missing and you may be not guilty of assault. On the other hand, a threat to apply force coupled with the ability to do so is an assault. This is so even if the person that is threatened had no idea of the threat.
Some other potential defences to a charge of assault are: compulsion; self-defence or defence of another; use of force by way of correction; and, defence of property. Ultimately, an assault charge may come down to the credibility of the complainant. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will closely examine all the evidence. They will carefully look for any bias or motives a complainant may have. Deniz Sarikaya has experience reviewing medical records and if there is a hint that the injuries are not legitimate or that there is a motive to lie he will expose it through skillful and rigorous cross-examination.
Consequences of an assault charge
Assault convictions can have harsh consequences. If you are charged with assault you should contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer. You may have a positive defence such as acting in self-defence. Or the accusations may be false. These are factors which could persuade the crown attorney to drop the charges or agree to a lesser sentence.
Alternatively, you could have a trial where an experienced and knowledgeable Toronto assault lawyer could convince the judge or the jury that you are not guilty. Whatever the outcome, if you have an experienced criminal defence lawyer on your side you know that you will get the most favourable outcome possible for you. Deniz Sarikaya is a Toronto criminal defence lawyer representing clients charged with assault. Call 647-282-5777 to schedule a free consultation with Mr. Sarikaya.