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Sexual Assault Lawyer in Abbotsford

Sexual assault is a crime that is taken seriously not only in our community but everywhere in Canada. Even being accused of sexual assault can damage your reputation for years. If you are facing any charges concerning unwanted sexual activity, you need legal advice and representation from Richard D. Ballantyne, an experienced and qualified sexual assault lawyer in Abbotsford. 

Mr. Ballantyne recommends you consult with a lawyer before you speak with the police about any allegation of a sexual offence made against you. Even if you believe you are innocent, legal counsel can clearly explain the charges you might face and advise you about your rights and responsibilities if you are changed with any form of sexual assault. Your initial consultation is free. You can call 24 hours a day, and evening and weekend appointments are available.

The Law and Sexual Assault

If someone has filed a complaint of sexual assault against you, it is very likely to result in criminal charges. Because of the sensitivity surrounding sexual offences, authorities can lay charges no matter what you say about the situation or your actions. For this reason, having legal counsel is importance since whatever you say to the police can be used against you.

Charges of sexual assault can arise from many circumstances of a sexual nature if the accuser’s sexual integrity is violated by any unwanted sexual activity that includes kissing, fondling, sexual grabbing, and rape. A defence attorney who is highly familiar with sexual assault law can lead you through what will be a complex legal process. The Court can consider an assault to be sexual according to:

  • Parts of the body that were touched
  • The situation and circumstances involved
  • The extent and type of contact
  • Words and gestures during the activity or contact
  • Issues of consent or lack of consent

The types of charges, depending on circumstances and age of the plaintiff, can include:

  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual interference
  • Sexual assault with a weapon
  • Aggravated sexual assault

Issues of Consent between Legal Adults

When the accuser and accused are over the age of consent (age 16 in Canada), most sexual assault cases involve the central issue of consent. Basically, was any sexual touching or activity consensual or not? Consent means someone voluntary agreed to have sexual contact with you. According to Canada’s Criminal Code, sexual activity is only legal when both parties consent. That consent can be expressed through words and/or actions. Being silent or passive does not mean the other person gave their consent.

You can face charges of sexual assault in situations that do not meet the legal definition of consent, including:

  • When someone expresses consent on someone else’s behalf
  • Someone is incapable of consenting because of their mental state: mental illness, intoxication, etc.
  • The complainant was unconscious
  • Consent results from someone abusing a position of authority, power or trust
  • Someone expresses in words or actions that they are not consenting to an activity
  • Someone expresses in words or actions that they are not consenting to continue an activity
  • Sexual activity results in bodily harm

If you believe your accuser gave consent, a competent sexual assault lawyer can help you determine if your perception is either legitimate or mistaken. By law, you cannot claim you made a mistake in believing your accuser gave their consent if your view of the situation was affected by:

  • Your own intoxication from alcohol or drugs
  • Your recklessness about checking if the person consented in actions or words
  • Your ignoring any words or actions that showed lack of consent

Sexual Interference as Sexual Assault on a Minor

If you are accused of sexual assault against someone who is under 16 years of age, the charge is called sexual interference. This offence also includes touching for a sexual purpose with any part of your body or with an object. The seriousness of the offence means the Court has to impose a minimum mandatory jail term if a jury finds you guilty of sexual interference.

Richard Ballantyne can prepare an appropriate defence against charges of sexual interference, which often involve instances of accidental touching, touching that was not meant for sexual purposes, and mistaking the age of the accuser. Please contact Mr. Ballantyne for a consultation.

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