Sexual assault is not explicitly defined as a criminal offense in the Criminal Code. Instead, the definition of “assault” in the Code applies to all forms of assault, including sexual assault, which involves the intentional use of force on another person without their consent in a sexual context.
If someone is charged with sexual assault, it is crucial to seek legal representation immediately to gather information about the case and prepare a proper defense. Sexual assault cases are complex, and evidence rules are stringent. In the past, lawyers could freely question complainants about their sexual history, but the law now requires permission from the court to do so.
Often, complainants may have spoken to someone besides the police about their allegations, and these records can be essential in building a defense. However, the accused must apply to the court to obtain these records, and it requires legal research and argument to do so successfully.
A conviction for sexual assault can result in serious consequences, such as a criminal record, a minimum one-year jail sentence, and registration on the National Sex Offender Registry. Experienced legal counsel, like Winnipeg criminal defense lawyer Matt Gould, is essential for defending against sexual assault and related charges.