Experienced Ontario and Toronto Sex Crime Law Firm
Aggravated sexual assault is the crime of sexual assault that also involves the wounding, maiming, disfiguring or the endangering of the life of the complainant. This offence is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison.
As you can see, aggravated sexual assault is a very serious crime. If you have been charged with aggravated sexual assault, it is critical that you seek an experienced lawyer in order to help mitigate any potential criminal penalties.
I have more than 30 years of experience defending against the most serious sex crimes charges. I believe strongly that everyone deserves a defence, and I will work hard to build the strongest possible defence on your behalf.
To arrange a free initial consultation with a Toronto aggravated sexual assault lawyer, please call 416-651-2299 or toll free at 1-888-399-3164. You can also contact my law firm online.
Other Aggravating Factors for Sexual Assault
There are other aggravating factors that can increase how many years in prison you could serve, if convicted. They include:
- Age of victim: If the complainant is under the age of 16 years, the person convicted of aggravated sexual assault is subject to a maximum sentence of life in prison and to a minimum sentence of five years in prison.
- Firearms: If a firearm is used in the commission of the aggravated sexual assault, the convicted person will be subject to a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum sentence of four years in prison.
- Criminal organizations: If the aggravated sexual assault is committed while using a firearm and the aggravated sexual assault is committed for the benefit of, at the discretion of, or in association with a criminal organization, the convicted person will be subject to a maximum sentence of life in prison and to a minimum sentence of five years in prison for a first offence and seven years in prison for a second or subsequent offence.
In addition, the requirement that a convicted person be sentenced to a minimum period of time in prison prevents the court from imposing a community-based sentence such as a conditional sentence of house arrest.
DNA and Other Forensic Evidence
Forensic evidence, such as DNA evidence, is just one type of evidence that the Crown can try to introduce against a person accused of a crime. The defence can challenge the admissibility of forensic evidence on the basis of relevance, prejudice or that there is a lack of a sufficient scientific foundation to make the evidence reliable and worthy of being admitted, in other words, the forensic evidence is inadmissible because it is based on "junk science".
Over the years, there have been several types of forensic evidence that have been rejected by the courts in the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada, including voice print identification, comparative bullet lead analysis and several indicators of arson dependent on visual cues.
Likewise, there are various other types of forensic evidence which are possibly unreliable, such as microscopic hair comparison, and "pattern comparison" evidence such as bite marks, tire marks and handwriting.
Even in cases where the forensic evidence is ruled admissible, the defence can still try to weaken the impact of the evidence by arguing, for example, that the results of the forensic testing were the subject of "motivated perception". In other words, the scientist who did the testing interpreted the results so as to support his or her expectations or the expectations of the police or Crown prosecutors. The defence can argue, or call evidence to show, that the forensic examiner should have first tested the evidence blindly without knowing anything about the case in order to avoid a subconscious bias. Studies have shown that even the opinion of fingerprint analysts can be affected by the analysts’ preconceived notions about the case. Also, there is always a risk of a false positive. Moreover, if the laboratory that completed the testing, such as the Centre of Forensic Sciences, is known to have made errors on occasion in the past, the defence can argue that the error rates should also be entered in evidence.
In appropriate cases, and where funds permit, the evidence can be re-tested by an independent laboratory for verification.
A good defence lawyer should know the weaknesses of specific scientific techniques or seek out an appropriate defence consulting expert to learn about and present evidence regarding those weaknesses.
Electing to Have a Preliminary Inquiry
In most cases in which a Defendant is facing indictable charges, or the Crown elects to proceed by indictment, the Defendant will have the right to proceed with a preliminary inquiry in the Ontario Court of Justice and then a trial in the Superior Court of Justice before a court composed of a Judge sitting with a jury or without a jury. In the past, this level of court was referred to as "High Court".
The completion of a preliminary inquiry is not mandatory. The Defendant has the right to waive the preliminary inquiry and to proceed directly to trial in either the Ontario Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice. If the trial is to be completed in the Superior Court of Justice, the waiver of the preliminary inquiry will require the consent of the Crown.
At a preliminary inquiry, the Crown is required to call some evidence upon which a properly instructed jury, acting reasonably, may return a verdict of guilt. This is an easy test for the Crown to meet in the vast majority of cases. Accordingly, it is relatively rare for someone who proceeds with a preliminary inquiry to be discharged with respect to all of the charges which he or she is facing. The real value in having a preliminary inquiry is not in the hope of being entirely discharged, thereby bringing the entire criminal proceedings to an end, but in being able to better prepare the case for trial. The defence lawyer will have an opportunity to cross-examine and test the evidence of the primary Crown witnesses. An experienced and skilled defence lawyer can discover the strengths and weaknesses of the Crown witnesses and commence building an effective defence strategy. A preliminary inquiry is especially valuable for the defence in cases involving young, infirm, unreliable or unsavory Crown witnesses.
Sex Offender Registry
Anyone convicted of aggravated sexual assault will be subject to a mandatory order to comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA), which will result in his or her name and other personal information being placed in the Ontario National Sex Offender Registry. In addition the convicted person will be required to have his or her name placed on the Ontario Sex Offender Registry. This can seriously affect your ability to obtain employment and the quality of your life. This is another important reason to make sure you are represented by only a qualified and skilled criminal defence lawyer. More Information on the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA), the National Sex Offender Registry and the Ontario Sex Offender Registry is available here.
Prohibition Orders - Section 161 of the Criminal Code of Canada
A person who is found guilty of committing a sexual offence, a child pornography offence or an offence involving the Internet luring of a person who is under the age of 16 years also faces the possibility that the court may make an order prohibiting the offender from engaging in activity that may bring the offender in contact with persons under the age of 16 years. This prohibition order is discretionary. The prohibition order may be for life or any shorter period that the court considers desirable. The court may also make the prohibition order subject to conditions or exemptions that the court considers appropriate.
The prohibition order may prohibit the offender from doing any or all of the following:
a) attending a public park or public swimming area where persons under the age of 16 years are present or can reasonably be expected to be present, or a day care centre, school ground, playground or community centre;
(b) seeking, obtaining or continuing any employment, whether or not the employment is remunerated, or becoming or being a volunteer in a capacity that involves being in a position of trust or authority toward persons under the age of 16 years;
(c) having any contact — including communicating by any means — with a person who is under the age of 16 years, unless the offender does so under the supervision of a person whom the court considers appropriate; or
(d) using the Internet or other digital network unless the offender does so in accordance with conditions set by the court.
Call Ontario Rape Lawyer Anthony De Marco for a Free Consultation
Contact my Toronto, Ontario, rape charge defence law firm today to discuss your aggravated sexual assault case. I offer a free 30-minute consultation. For your convenience, I accept Visa and offer payment plans. You can reach me by phone at 416-651-2299 or toll free at 1-888-399-3164. You can also contact my law office online.