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Assault Causing Bodily Harm
Assault causing bodily harm is a serious offence. Mr. L is a young man who was out with friends on New Year’s Eve ringing in 2020. He was with a group of friends, and they were all drinking alcohol. What was supposed to be a fun night crashed down around him. Mr. L’s longtime high school friend (the victim) was angry and belligerent that Mr. L was dancing with his girlfriend. The victim confronted Mr. L. They all went outside.
The confrontation escalated, and it quickly turned violent. However, the violence was one single punch to the victim’s head. The victim fell to the ground and started convulsing and bleeding profusely. Mr. L was immediately remorseful and tried to help.
Eventually, Mr. L was arrested and charged with Assault Causing Bodily Harm. He was smart and retained us right away. We went through his disclosure and concluded that we had a triable case. We had legal arguments we could pursue. However, Mr. L did not want to go to trial. This is his right. It is always the client’s choice to proceed to trial or not. Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should do it.
In this case, Mr. L was suffering mentally and physically with his moral guilt. I always try to handle this delicately. Moral guilt is different than legal guilt. Lawyers must always be mindful of this fact. However, Mr. L was not interested in proceeding to trial. Therefore, my job shifted to mitigation. I asked Mr. L to work with me and to be my team-mate. I gave him a list of work I needed him to do. It was not easy, but he was able to accomplish everything we set out for him. Then, I did the legal work. I took his mitigation work; I wove his work into the legal arguments, and, at the end of the day, we were successful in obtaining a Conditional Discharge.
This is a finding by the court to essentially suspend the passing of a sentence for a period of time while the person completes a set of conditions. If the person does this, once the period has elapsed and no further offence is committed, the conviction is removed from the person’s record. He is discharged absolutely. It is not easy to obtain this type of result for someone charged with a such a serious offence. This case illustrates why it is so important to retain a lawyer who has the experience to effectively argue and also why it is so important to work with your lawyer. Mr. L’s work was incredible, and, without it, we would not have been able to successfully obtain the outcome we wanted.
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