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Toronto Assault Criminal Defence Lawyer

Assault charges can arise from many different types of situations. No matter what the circumstances, it is important to seek out reputable counsel to defend your rights, freedom and reputation.

As a senior criminal defence lawyer, I have the knowledge and the experience to fully understand the charges you are facing. With more than 30 years of experience, I know what is at stake and I know what is needed to defend anyone charged with assault or other violent crime offences. To speak with me, please contact my Toronto law firm today and schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

Sexual Assault, Domestic Assault and Other Assault Charges

Whether you are charged with common assault, domestic assault, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated assault, or the lesser and included offence of assault causing bodily harm, or any other type of assault charge, I always conduct a thorough review of the evidence against you. I will provide you with an honest and realistic assessment of your case and help you understand what to expect throughout the process.

I will help you explore any legal defence that can be used in your case. I will also see if the police were thorough in their investigation and if the witness statements that have been gathered are credible, reliable and are from reputable witnesses.

If your case requires a jury trial, I have the necessary experience, advocacy skills and confidence to convincingly argue your case to the jury.

Consent

In some cases an honest, but mistaken, belief in consent may be a defence, however, no consent is obtained where the complainant submits or does not resist by reason of

(a) the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;

(b) threats or fear of the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;

(c) fraud; or

(d) the exercise of authority.

Electing to Have a Preliminary Inquiry

In cases in which a Defendant is exposed to a possible period of 14 years in jail or more, 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.

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.

Sex Offender Registry

Anyone convicted of a sexual offence 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 Defence Lawyer Anthony De Marco for a Free Consultation

Contact my Toronto, Ontario, office today to discuss your assault or other violent offence 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 or via e-mail.

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