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Aggravated Assault Charge Withdrawn – Assault Causing Bodily Harm Results in a Conditional Discharge

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The criminal lawyers at Alberta Legal recently represented a young man charged with Aggravated Assault. Aggravated assault is the most serious form of assault under the Criminal Code. The section reads as follows:

            268 (1) Every one commits an aggravated assault who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant. 

This form of assault is the most serious form of assault short of an assault causing death. In order for a conviction to be likely the prosecutor must be able to prove long term injuries. Typically, a complainant will provide consent in order for the police to obtain medical records. If a conviction is entered on an Aggravated Assault a jail sentence is the typical result. Sometimes creative sentences may occur, but it is rare.

Details of this Aggravated Assault Charge

In Ms. Williamson’s case, her client was involved in a melee after partying with his friends along 17th Avenue in Calgary. He and his friends were minding their own business when an unknown vehicle approached them. The driver of the vehicle stopped the car and exited his car as did the passenger. Words were exchanged between the two groups. The driver decided to leave but returned and encroached upon the same group this time in an alleyway. There a melee occurs. At some point, Ms. Williamson’s client swings a bottle and makes contact with one of the individuals from the other group. Police arrive on scene shortly thereafter and an investigation ensues. CCTV footage from the alleyway and from other areas were collected and examined. Self-defence was a viable option, but Ms. Williamson’s client was uncomfortable with the risk of proceeding to trial. Therefore, she negotiated a deal where he pled guilty to assault causing bodily harm (a lesser included offence.) She sought a conditional discharge (which is a form of probation but results in no criminal record after a period of time) and the prosecutor originally sought jail but eventually relented to seeking probation. Probation will result in a permanent criminal record, if ordered.

The two lawyers proceeded to a contested sentencing hearing. In order to convince the Court that her sentence was fit and proper she prepared a legal brief, a book of sentencing exhibits and oral submissions. After a well fought battle, the Court agreed with Ms. Williamson and ordered the conditional discharge. This is the best possible result as it is the closet one can get at undoing the crime. In this case so long as her client complies with the conditions, (he has all the control to do so) he will in the end be discharged.

This case demonstrates a number of important principles. First, a strategic and competent lawyer will assess the case and provide wrap around legal advice. Proceeding to trial and the defence that will be advanced is laid out. All the risk associated with this choice is also identified. Proceeding to a contested sentencing hearing (as in this case) must be explained and both the lawyer and the client must work to get the best possible result. Potential sentencing exhibits could include mental health records, certificates of completion of appropriate courses and letters.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence and need competent and strategic legal advice, call the lawyers at call Alberta Legal today.

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