Criminal Lawyer Defending Sexual Assault Offences in Edmonton

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Offences such as sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and exploitation, committing indecent acts in public, and sexual assault are amongst the most stigmatizing offences in our society. Mr. Prithipaul is an Edmonton criminal defence lawyer with experience in defending sexual assault.

Sexual assault is defined generally as an assault which is committed in circumstances of a sexual nature. This is a broader definition than what many people normally associate with sexual assault, and encompasses far more than rape for example. An unwanted touch, kiss, or fondle could give rise to a charge.

Consent

Sexual assault allegations take place in a wide variety of circumstances. Consent refers in this context to the agreement of the parties to engage in sexual contact and is a vitally important aspect of criminal allegations. Consent is not a defence in certain situations, such as where the complainant is not of an age to provide consent, or where the difference in age between the parties means that consent is excluded as a defence. In addition, there are factual situations in which consent or the lack of consent is quite difficult to establish, such as where the parties were intoxicated.

Defences can be based on “honest but mistaken belief in consent”. This notion refers to the good faith though erroneous belief on the part of the accused that the complainant was consenting to sexual contact. Under section 265 of the Criminal Code, there must be reasonable grounds for this belief before it can be considered by the trial court.

Serious sexual charges may give you the right to a jury trial. You should consult with your criminal defence lawyer to determine whether it would be in your best interests to have a preliminary inquiry, followed by a trial before a court composed of a judge sitting alone or a judge sitting with a jury. Mr. Prithipaul has conducted jury trials and is an effective advocate for his clients.

Punishment

The authorities take sexual offences very seriously. Convictions for these types of crimes, depending on the severity of the office, are punishable by significant penalties, including mandatory minimum jail sentences for some offences. The maximum sentence for some forms of aggravated sexual assault is life in prison.

The offender may additionally be required, depending on the offence for which he or she was convicted, to comply with the Sex Offence Registration Act. Registration means being required to notify the police every year of personal information including identity, current address, and employment status.

Of course, a guilty verdict can have severe long-term consequences for a person’s career, employment, and reputation.

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