Sex crimes are treated very seriously by the legal system and by society. These offences are viewed as some of the most egregious actions by the courts and by prosecutors. A conviction for sex crimes can result in a criminal record, a jail sentence, and could place you on a list of sex offenders.
Beyond the courts, the social stigma of sex crimes can have a significant mental and emotional impact on you and your loved ones. It can leave a stain on your reputation in the community which could ruin your social life, your relationships, and your ability to earn income in the future. If you are charged with sex crimes, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer who is familiar with the rules of evidence and who will handle your case with compassion and understanding.
Sexual assault is defined as an assault that is committed in circumstances of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. To determine whether an act is of a sexual nature one must look at all the circumstances in which the act occurred including: the part of the body that was touched; the nature of the contact; the situation in which it occurred; any words or gestures that accompanied the act; and, any other relevant circumstance.
There are numerous sex crimes in the Criminal Code which can be found in Part V Sexual Offences and in Part VIII Offences against the Person. Some sex crimes include: Sexual Interference; Sexual Exploitation; Voyeurism; Sexual Assault; Sexual Assault with a Weapon; Aggravated Sexual Assault; Trafficking in Persons; and many more.
Evidence in sex cases
Unlike other areas of criminal law, many of the evidentiary rules around sex assault charges are codified in the Criminal Code. For example, rules about consent are governed by section 273.1. That section sets out the general definition of consent which is the voluntary agreement by the complainant to engage in sexual activity. However, there are circumstances where apparent agreement by the complainant does not amount to consent such as where the agreement was expressed by someone other than the complainant; or where the complainant was unconscious. In addition, the age of consent in Canada is 16 years old which means that a person under the age of 16 cannot agree to sexual activity in any form.
The outcome in many sex crime cases will depend on the credibility and reliability of the complainant. Determining the credibility of a witness is something that courts deal with routinely in all types of cases. There are some general legal rules that apply in assessing credibility. For example, inconsistent statements on a material point will raise concerns about the credibility of the witness. On the other hand, repeating a statement does not make it more credible because a concocted statement repeated on more than one occasion remains concocted.
Ascertaining the truth is one of the fundamental underpinnings of the administration of criminal justice. The integrity of the justice system depends on making a determination of guilt or innocence on the basis of facts that are true. To that end, the Supreme Court of Canada has described cross-examination as the greatest legal engine for the discovery of truth. This is why allegations are not evidence until they have been tested in court through meticulous cross-examination by a criminal defence lawyer knowledgeable in the facts of the case, the law, and the rules of evidence.
Serious consequences of a conviction
Sex crimes are vigorously prosecuted, and upon conviction, you could be saddled with some of the harshest penalties available under the law. In addition to a criminal record and a potential lengthy jail term; a conviction for sexual assault can result in a forensic DNA databank order which will keep the offenders DNA analysis results in the national DNA data bank as well as an order to comply and register with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act.
The impact of a conviction for sex crimes goes beyond the criminal courts. Allegations of sex crimes will often be accompanied by emotional and sometimes public reactions. It is the duty of an experienced criminal defence lawyer to make sure that the outcome of the case is determined based on the facts and not on emotions.
Charged with sex crimes? If so, it is imperative that you retain a Toronto criminal defence lawyer who will put every effort possible to defend your rights, your dignity, and to achieve the most favourable outcome possible in the circumstances of your case. Contact the law office of Deniz Sarikaya. Mr. Sarikaya can review your options and explain the legal ramifications of your case. Call 647-282-5777 to set up your free consultation as soon as possible.