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Domestic Assault Case and Breaches  Withdrawn

self defence

I recently represented Mr. P who was charged with two separate allegations of domestic assault. For the first incident, the complainant alleged my client slapped and hit her on her face. As a result of this allegation, my client was charged with simple assault contrary to section 266 of the Criminal Code. The standard terms of the Release Order included a no-contact condition with the complainant. A month or so later, the complainant alleged that my client contacted her and attended at their previously shared home. She alleged he was intoxicated. She alleged that a verbal dispute arose between them. She further alleged that my client hit and kicked her. She said that he hit her and split her lip. The police attended just as they had the first time. They took pictures of her and obtained another statement from her. This time my client was charged with assault and breaches of the original release order.

Because the incidents were charged separately and occurred some time apart, two separate trial dates were set. As always, I diligently prepared my defence for my client. Although the complainant told the police officers that my client was intoxicated both times, it was clear from the police disclosure that the complainant was intoxicated on each occasion as well.

When a trial judge or jury hears evidence from a complainant or an eyewitness who was clearly intoxicated at the time of the alleged incidents, reliability will always be a factor to consider. Reliability is a legal concept. In the case of R v C(H), 2009 ONCA 56, the Court of Appeal noted that reliability is about whether a witness has the ability to observe, recall and recount the events in issue. When a person is intoxicated, he or she may be telling the truth or attempting to tell the truth, which is an assessment of his or her credibility. However, the person’s evidence may not be reliable due to intoxication.

In my client’s case, I strategically prepared a defence aimed at undermining the complainant’s reliability. This allows me to argue doubt. The prosecutor understood the weaknesses of the case surrounding this legal issue. Therefore, my client was offered a peace bond.

A peace bond is a court order that places a person on terms and conditions for a period of time. When a peace bond is entered into at Court, the charge or charges are automatically withdrawn. In some cases, there is every reason to accept a peace bond. In other cases, there are good reasons to push for other outcomes. As is my responsibility, I explained the offer of the peace bond to my client, but my legal advice did not include accepting the peace bond offer. My client understood. I continued my negotiations with the prosecutor based on the defence that was built. In the end, the prosecutor agreed to completely withdraw all charges without my client going on a peace bond. It was a fantastic result for my client.

This case demonstrates that although a good deal was offered to my client, it doesn’t mean I stop fighting. In some cases, a peace bond is an excellent outcome and my advice may be to accept it. Peace bonds ensure certainty and control for those who enter into them. However, there are other situations where a peace bond is not the best outcome. It is important to have a smart and strategic lawyer who knows when to push further. In this case, the reasonable likelihood of conviction was at the heart of the issue and in the end, the prosecutor was convinced by me that her likelihood of conviction was low to non-existent. Some lawyers won’t think twice after an offer arrives. Diligent lawyers do think twice and they know when to fight harder. This was the best outcome for my client.

If you have been charged with domestic assault, you need a serious lawyer who fights serious accusations every single day. Contact Alberta Legal for an immediate consultation and further legal services you may need.

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