Tag Archives: sexual assault

Charged with a sexual offence?

As a criminal defence lawyer, a large part of what I do involves protecting the rights of people who are being investigated or have been charged with a sex offence. Unlike most other types of criminal cases, sex cases involve people – mostly men – from all walks of life. Often the accused are men who have been falsely accused by someone they may have had sexual contact with and now they find themselves under investigation or accused of things which can destroy their families, wreck their careers, and stigmatize them in the community.

For the person who has been accused of a sex crime the stakes could hardly be higher.

If you’re convicted of a sexual offence in Canada…

  1. Depending on the offence, you could be looking at a mandatory minimum jail sentence.
  2. You will have to register on the federal sex offender registry.
  3. You will not be eligible for a record suspension (formerly known as a pardon).

If you believe that you might be investigated for or charged with a sex offence, you need to get a criminal defence lawyer with experience defending sex cases on your side right away.

Experience counts

My experience with sex cases includes defending clients who have been charged with:

  • Voyeurism
  • Sexual interference
  • Invitation to sexual touching
  • Sexual assault
  • Possession and production of child pornography

I can help you. Call me today.

The police called. Your teen has been arrested.

It’s the call that no parent wants: a late-night call from the police. Your teen has been arrested.

Talk to a lawyer before talking to the police

One of the biggest mistakes people who’ve been arrested make is believing that if they just tell their side of the story, everything will be okay. If your teen is arrested, you need to talk to an experienced criminal defence lawyer before talking to the police or making a statement.

Be ready if the police call

You can help your teen today by doing some advance homework yourself. Know who you would call if the police told you they have your child in custody. The stakes are high. You need an experienced criminal defence lawyer in your teen’s corner protecting their rights now and in the days ahead.

An experienced criminal defence lawyer can help alleviate your fears about the unknown and answer your questions at a time when what’s happening may seem overwhelming. He or she will:

  1. Answer your questions about the process in the days ahead
  2. Gather facts
  3. Develop a plan for moving forward

Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Do your research now and decide who you would contact if the call comes in. And hope that it never does.

Call us; we can help you. We are criminal defence lawyers with decades of specialized experience in criminal law.

Court rejects doublethink in sexual exploitation case

In January 2014, the British Columbia Court of Appeal released its decision in R. v. Rich 2014 BCCA 24 dismissing the appeal in a sexual exploitation case of a convicted sex offender seeking to avoid the immigration consequences of his sentence.

Immigration consequences of a sentence of more than two years

Mr. Rich was convicted of sexual exploitation for abuse involving his youngest daughter. He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. As a non-Canadian who had lived in Canada since a young boy, the sentence meant he was subject to potential deportation. That’s because the provisions then in effect of the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act allowed for deportation of non-citizens sentenced to more than 2 years in prison, without any right of appeal against a removal order.

Mr. Rich’s lawyer argued the sentencing judge should have taken the potential immigration consequences for his client into account when deciding the appropriate sentence. So far, so good. The court has previously decided it’s appropriate in BC for a sentencing judge to consider immigration consequences of a particular sentence. Mr. Rich’s problem was that immigration consequences can’t justify a sentence that would otherwise be unfit, and the sentencing judge found a sentence of less than 2 years was not appropriate.

Mental gymnastics

The argument Mr. Rich’s lawyer asked the appeal court to accept went like this. At the time of the hearing of Mr. Rich’s appeal, he had already been in custody for 10 months and was likely a good candidate for parole. If the appeal court replaced the original 2 1/2 year sentence with a suspended sentence followed by probation for 30 months (thereby treating Mr. Rich’s 10 months in custody as probation rather than imprisonment), for practical purposes, it would result in the same remaining punishment, but with 20 months of probation rather than 20 months of parole. This would have avoided any immigration consequences for Mr. Rich.

Wilful blindness, concealment and doublethink

The three appeal judges didn’t buy any of it. Writing for the court, Justice Groberman said that to do so would require the court to engage in an “odd sort of wilful blindness”. In language evocative of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, Justice Groberman said it would be unseemly and inappropriate to engage in “that sort of concealment and doublethink”.

The BC Court of Appeal was right to accept the argument Mr. Rich’s lawyer asked them to accept. Judges, lawyers, accused persons and anyone else who might be interested must be able to read the decisions of our courts and understand why a particular case has been decided in a particular way. We must all be able to know why a particular sentence has, or has not, been imposed. Engaging in the kind of mental gymnastics urged upon the appeal court in this case would not have been good for justice.