Sexual Assault

Sexual assault can be generally defined as an assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent of the other person. Sexual Assault is a serious crime in Canada. The mere stigma of being accused of sexual assault can irreparably damage a person's reputation. The age of the complainant will often determine what laws will apply and what defences are available.

The victim of the sexual assault can be a man or woman and the attacker can be of the same sex as the victim. A spouse may also be charged with sexual assault upon the other spouse.

Defences to Sexual Assaults


For a sexual assault to have occurred, the Crown must prove that the application of force by the accused person was done without the consent of the party to whom the force was applied. Consent may be given expressly or implied. Often, consent is implied and is generally determined from the surrounding circumstances of the offence. Consent is not a defence in certain scenarios.

Mistaken Belief in Consent

If consent did not actually exist, the accused may still be able to argue that they honestly believed the other party had consented to the application of force. An honest but mistaken belief in consent will also afford a defence to an assault charge. An honest but mistaken belief in consent can be raised if the accused establishes that they held a reasonable belief that the complainant affirmatively communicated consent through the complainant's words or actions. Mistaken belief in consent is not a defence in certain scenarios.

What are the Penalties for Sexual Assault

The consequences of being found guilty of a sexual assault charge are significant. Upon a finding of guilt, one may receive a criminal record and be sentenced to a period in jail. Alternatively, the court may impose a lesser sentence including probation with counselling or a fine.

We have the experience, resources and tools required to provide you with the most effective legal defence, often not resulting in a criminal record. It is important to remember that every allegation of sexual assault is a fact specific inquiry. Consulting a lawyer will assist you with identifying potential defences to this type of allegation.

Sexual Offences