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Sexual Assault Laws in Canada

Part VIII of the Criminal Code / Against the Person and Reputation

Understanding Sexual Assault Charges

If you have been charged with a crime in Ottawa, you should consult with a criminal defence lawyer in your area

Insights from Ottawa Lawyer, Céline Dostaler

Strategies to Defend a Sex Assault Charge

  • Honest but mistaken belief in communicated consent - this defence is based on the idea that the accused believed that the sexual contact was consensual, despite it not being so.
  • Affirming that there was consent - the accused may argue that the sexual contact was consensual.
    Denying the sexual contact - the accused may claim that no sexual contact took place.
  • Mistake in identity - this defence argues that the accused was unaware that the victim was not consenting because they thought they were engaging with someone else.
  • The incident did not happen - either the alleged sex did not happen, or it did not lead to any injury.
  • The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides certain rights and protections to individuals, which may be applicable in a sexual assault case.

Click to Call Celine Dostaler: (613) 863-8595

Sexual Assault in Ottawa, Ontario - Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Legal Terms


The voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.

Crown prosecutor

Lawyers who act for the federal, provincial and territorial governments and prosecute people accused of crimes on behalf of the Crown.

Hybrid offence

Hybrid offences fall between a summary and an indictable offence. The Crown prosecutor chooses whether to treat the offence as a summary or indictable offence.

Indictable offence

Indictable offences are the most serious offences under the Criminal Code and they come with more serious punishments, up to a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Reasonable doubt

The Supreme Court of Canada has said that reasonable doubt “falls much closer to absolute certainty than to proof on a balance of probabilities” and “that something less than absolute certainty is required, and that something more than probable guilt is required."

Summary conviction

Summary convictions are used for lesser offences with penalties, fines and short jail time. They reflect the majority of offences as defined in the Code.

Sexual Assault in Ottawa, Ontario - Tagged With:
Code Citations: s.271 , Subsection 273.1(2)