Child Sexual Assault
How Is Justice Achieved In A Child Sexual Assault Trial?
It is often said that no one wins in a sexual assault trial. These types of trials are so difficult for everyone involved. The difficulty, when it is a child who alleges he or she was assaulted, is exponential. Especially when these charges involve historical child sexual abuse, it can become a difficult case.
Our firm recently defended a wife and a mother who was alleged of sexually assaulting a child. She was horrified and embarrassed to be charged with such a stigmatizing offence.
The little girl claimed that over 10 years ago when she and her family were staying at our client’s residence, she was sexually touched and shown sexually explicit material.
Thankfully, our client found us and immediately retained us to mount a defence.
It is never easy to have that initial meeting once we receive the police information and disclosure package containing the investigation and the witness statements. However, we went through all of the material and diligently examined each allegation.
We started preparing for trial on the very day of that initial meeting. Over the next year and a few months, we continued to pull apart the pieces of what was being said and we built our defence brick by brick. At trial, all of our work paid off. We achieved what we wanted. The trial stopped. It was difficult for everyone. The complainant was not happy that our client was not convicted. The prosecutor wasn’t happy because the complainant wasn’t happy. Our client wanted the judge to find her not guilty. She didn’t get that, but she did avoid a criminal record, a criminal conviction, and being jailed. She walked away from the criminal trial with no further risk.
Justice is hard to achieve in these cases, especially because of the Me-Too Movement. Judges have regularly been commenting about this movement in their decisions. It’s not easy for the judge to hear differing versions and weigh that evidence in child sexual assault cases, especially when the allegations are historical.
Madam Justice Spies of the Ontario Superior Court recently considered a historical sexual assault allegation which involved discussion of the Me-Too Movement. Ultimately, she concluded that her case wasn’t different from the” he said/she said” cases that are now regularly in front of the courts. These cases are not credibility contests, and, for many reasons, she acquitted the accused.
In our case, we came up with a creative solution so that justice could be done. Our client entered into a special peace bond which provided comfort to the complainant and her family but gave certainty and control of the outcome to our client.
Historical child sexual assault allegations are serious charges which carry many years in prison, if convicted. The risk is real. See our recent blog on Diligence and Doing Right in the criminal justice system here.
If you have been charged with a serious crime like sexual assault, contact us today. We are serious lawyers who defend serious charges every single day.
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