In replacing the historic offences such as rape with the modern offence of sexual assault, Parliament intended to criminalize all assaults which are sexual in nature. The prosecution must first establish beyond a reasonable doubt that an assault was committed. If the alleged victim consented to the act complained of, or there is a reasonable doubt as to whether they consented, the accused must be acquitted. If the prosecution succeeds in proving that an assault occurred and that the victim did not consent, then they must establish that the act was sexual in nature, i.e., that it was such as to violate the sexual integrity of the complainant.
Whether or not there was sexual gratification is irrelevant. The part of the body touched, the nature of the contact, the situation in which it occurred, the words or gestures expressed and other surrounding circumstances may be taken into account by the court when determining whether the assault was sexual in nature.
In many sexual assault cases, the issue before the court is whether the complainant consented to the touching. If the accused had a legitimate, honest and reasonably held belief that the victim consented to the act, it may provide a defence to a later allegation that the touching was not consensual.
As in most cases where credibility is to be weighed by the court, the judge must decide who to believe. If the judge believes the evidence of the accused, they must acquit the accused. If the judge does not believe the accused, but still has a reasonable doubt because of their evidence, they must acquit the accused. If the judge disbelieves the accused, but still has a doubt based on the rest of the evidence, they must acquit the accused.
A sexual assault can be as insignificant as an intentional brush in an elevator. In any event, a conviction for sexual assault is highly embarrassing. There are few offences that are as damaging to one’s reputation as sex assault.
If you are being investigated for sexual assault IT IS ESSENTIAL TO CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL LAWYER IMMEDIATELY.
If the police want to talk to you as a person of interest in a sexual assault case IT IS ESSENTIAL TO CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL LAWYER NOW.
If the police want you to submit to a polygraph test, DEMAND TO CONTACT OUR OFFICE IMMEDIATELY and refuse to undergo any testing.
In many cases, an experienced lawyer can deal with the allegation before you are charged to ensure that you never face a charge of sex assault. In most cases the sooner you contact an experienced Criminal Lawyer, the better the results for you.