It is important to understand that Canadian law delineates between three levels of assault:
- Common assault, which is the least serious, involves pushing, slapping, punching, and verbal threats (level 1).
- Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm, which is considered a major assault (level 2).
- Aggravated assault, which involves wounding, maiming, disfiguring or endangering someone’s life (level 3).
Being charged with an assault is serious business; however, there are situations that protect an assailant under certain circumstances. For example, a consensual fight is considered okay as long as it doesn’t include bodily harm.
Domestic assault in Ontario has a zero-tolerance policy although there are situations in which there is a reasonable defence. However, a domestic assault alert means that the accused may end up in jail for the night until a bail hearing is held. If the bail court decides the accused should not be released until the charges have been determined, there is little recourse without an experienced defence attorney. There are always defendable domestic assault cases that end up badly due to a lack of professional legal help. There are other assault situations that are defensible even when they are contrary to Canadian law.
Defendable Reasons for Assault
“It Was in Self-Defence”
If you are defending yourself from someone whose intention is to physically harm you and that person winds up maimed, or even killed by your hand there is a strong case for defence. Obviously, there must be proof that will demonstrate that your actions were reasonable and unavoidable. The courts will make sure you are not trying to use the self-defence plea inappropriately. The details will be revealed and scrutinized ad nauseam so using a self-defence argument must be iron-clad beyond a reasonable doubt.
The courts will take a close look at:
- The relationship of the parties
- Whether weapons were used by either party
- The size, age, gender, and physical capabilities of both parties
- Whether proportional force was used
- The nature of the situation and any previous altercations
Was the Assault Accidental?
When someone hurts another accidentally, it is most definitely defendable. Assuming there are strong reasons that led up to the assault and some semblance of proof that it was, indeed, an accident there would be no charges upheld. It must also be made clear that the accident was not predictable, contemplated, or a desired result.
If the assault was intentional yet skewed to appear as an accident, the defence is much less likely to pass through the Crown Prosecutor, and a conviction could be the anticipated outcome.
Was there Mutual Consent?
It is never okay to inflict bodily harm on another, even if there was mutual consent. However, the Crown Prosecutor is in a position to prove that the person who was assaulted did not consent to the force that was applied by the accused.
There is a fine line with this defence as consensual assault with the intent to inflict bodily harm is against the law. So, for example, if two people consent to a martial arts fight outside of their gym and bodily harm ensues accidentally, the assaulted party would have no case. If two people engaged in a fist fight and one was physically hurt, the attacker could be taken to court. However, there would still be a legal defence.
Sicotte & Sandhu Will Uncover Legal Possibilities
Our lawyers at Sicotte & Sandhu have successfully defended hundreds of people who have been charged with all types of assault: Aggravated Assault, Assault with a Weapon, Domestic Assault, and Sexual Assault.
Facing an assault charge in Canada is often precarious and can be a frightening position to be in. We will take out the fear and determine a reasonable and efficacious defence. But first you will want to contact us for a free consultation so we can understand the details of your situation and explain the steps that would follow should you go forward with legal defence.
Don’t hesitate as time may not be on your side. Call 604-585-8898 or Contact Us here.