26 Jan Domestic Assault & Spousal Abuse Charges
Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer Robb MacDonald Talks About Your Options When Charged With These Crimes.
When an allegation is made that you are abusing your spouse or intimate partner you may be charged with domestic assault. Domestic assault, also known as spousal assault, is the use of physical force with the intent to harm a spouse, loved one or cohabitant. Domestic assault / spousal assault is a very serious crime in Canada.
If you are currently being investigated for, or have been accused of or formally charged with this type of assault, it is in your best interest to retain a knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer. A criminal defence lawyer will strengthen your case by using his experience, skill, education and superior knowledge of Canada’s criminal law when defending your case before a judge in the Ontario courts.
If you are convicted of domestic assault, you may face jail time, restitution, fines, probation, counselling and a criminal record. A criminal record impacts your ability to travel and work in certain types of positions.
Domestic assault cases often involve no witnesses other than the accused and the complainant. Typically, they are “he said, she said” cases. As a result, Domestic assault cases have been profoundly affected by the decision in R v. W (D)  1 S.C.R. 742 in which, Justice Cory of the Supreme Court of Canada described the process that the trier of fact must go through in order to determine guilt. In that case, Justice Cory described the correct charge to a jury in cases involving credibility of witnesses. Justice Cory explained:
A trial judge might well instruct the jury on the question of credibility along these lines:
First, if you believe the evidence of the accused, obviously you must acquit.
Second, if you do not believe the testimony of the accused but you are left in reasonable doubt by it, you must acquit. (Note: this is a more contentious point)
Third, even if you are not left in doubt by the evidence of the accused, you must ask yourself whether, on the basis of the evidence which you do accept, you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt by that evidence of the guilt of the accused.
This decision has had a profound impact on how “credibility” is assessed in Canadian Criminal Courts. The decision has had a profound impact on how evidence is weighed in domestic assault cases.
Whenever someone faces accusations of domestic violence, the Courts will usually impose immediate conditions that prevent the Accused from having contact with his family members. This is often the case even when the accused’s spouse and / or children seek to have contact with the accused. As soon as these charges are laid, a defence lawyer must quickly assess whether or not family members desire to have contact with the Accused pending resolution of the charges. If defence lawyers do not act promptly, conditions may be put in place that effectively banish an Accused from his home and segregate him away from his family.