R. v. H.A. and M.A.
Charge: Sexual Assault
The clients, H.A. and M.A., who are husband and wife, were involved in an immigration consulting business. They were charged with having sexually assaulted a woman who was one of their immigration clients.
The clients and their two children went on a short trip with the complainant and her child. Eventually, the three children were left by themselves in their hotel room while the clients and the complainant went to a nearby restaurant. The complainant had three drinks following which she became nauseous. Shortly before midnight, the clients took the complainant back to their hotel room.
The Crown alleged that a few hours later, the complainant woke up in the same bed with the clients. The clients were lying one on either side of the complainant. The complainant’s top and bra had been pulled above her breasts and her breasts were exposed. The complainant claimed that she felt powerless due to the effects of a suspected drug in her system.
The complainant claimed that when she tried to get up, the clients held her down on the bed. The complainant claimed that she eventually returned to her own bed at which time one of the clients crawled into bed beside her. The complainant claimed that the following day, she was told by both clients that if she complained to anyone about what had happened, they would have her deported.
A few months later, the complainant reported the incident to the Toronto Police Service and the clients were charged with sexual assault.
At the clients’ trial, the complainant admitted that she decided to report the incident to the Toronto Police Service after she heard about a similar incident. She also admitted that she had filed an application for damages with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. She was also unable to describe a distinct scar that H.A. had on the front of his abdomen despite the fact that she had earlier testified that she had seen him naked.
The clients were both acquitted of the charge which they were facing. Although in this case the clients were facing nasty allegations, I was able to show that the case against the clients was much weaker than the Crown had anticipated.