Sexual Assault Charges in British Columbia

Sexual Assault is a offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.   Each case and possible consequence is fact-specific and there are a variety of sentences available for this offence.  In addition to imprisonment, the consequences for conviction for Sexual Assault in Canada include registry as a Sex Offender, a DNA order, and a Weapons prohibition.

Our office has successfully defended a number of Sexual Assault cases including allegations involving partners, acquaintances, and family members.  We have successfully had charges withdrawn upon convincing the prosecutor of no reasonable prospect of conviction for some matters, while for others we have avoided jail or imprisonment after months of negotiations.  In other cases we have succeeded in having the sexual assault charges downgraded to a common assault charge, thereby avoiding for our clients the mandatory SOIRA National Sex Offender Registry.

What are some recent Sexual Assault related cases you’ve defended?

R. v. P.A. [2017] - Client, a high level executive, is charged with sending sexual Intimate Images of ex-girlfriend to third-parties, and disclosing her identity to the recipients. Client confessed to the charges prior to retaining firm. Firm arranges year-long rehabilitation plan, including coursework on internet use, respectful relationships, and civil settlement. We also obtain immigration letter from respected US-based counsel discussing impact on work-travel to US if convicted. Client receives ABSOLUTE DISCHARGE and NO CRIMINAL RECORD. 

R. v. A.R. [2015] – Client is charged with Sexual Assault and Sexual Interference. Crown originally proceeds by indictment and client is facing possible mandatory minimum of 1 year jail. Client does not testify at trial. Complainant and alleged witness cross-examined vigorously. Closing submissions focus on many inconsistencies in evidence. Following trial, client found not guilty of all charges –  NOT GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES and NO CRIMINAL RECORD


R. v. F.G. [2013] – Client, a recent immigrant to Canada, charged with Sexual Assault and numerous Assaults relating to allegations involving his wife following a series of domestic disputes.  Conviction on the charges could have resulted in deportation and sex offender registry. Following extensive discussions with the prosecutor discussing problems with the case, and several meetings with a judge, clients pleads to simple assault for a Conditional Discharge and the sexual assault charges are dropped.  – CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE and NO CRIMINAL RECORD


R. v. F.C. [2013] – Client, a licensed security guard, charged with Sexual Assault relating to allegations involving neighbour in apartment building.  Convictions on allegations risked client's professional license and immigration status.  Following discussions with the prosecutor, client agrees to enter a plea to simple assault, and the judge accepts the joint submission for a discharge.  – CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE and NO CRIMINAL RECORD


R. v. Z.L. [2013] – Client, a medical professional, charged with Sexual Assault, Utter Threats and Domestic Assault relating to allegations involving common law partner.  Following discussions with the prosecutor, completion of a comprehensive anger management and education program, client agrees to enter into a peace bond.  – CHARGES WITHDRAWN and NO CRIMINAL RECORD


R. v. W.D. [2013] – Client, a licensed professional, charged with Sexual Assault relating to allegations of unwanted touching and groping of strangers on a university campus.  Following extensive discussions with the prosecutor pointing out significant weaknesses with the case, client agrees to enter into a peace bond – CHARGES WITHDRAWN and NO CRIMINAL RECORD


More of My Cases

What is the maximum possible penalty for Sexual Assault in British Columbia?

Under the Criminal Code of Canada: Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 18 months and, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.

What is the Sex Offender Information Registration Act or SOIRA?

The Sex Offender Registration Act (SOIRA), is a database designed to assist peace officers in the investigation of sexual offences and contains addresses, descriptions, and other vital information relating to convicted sex offenders.

When a person is convicted of one of a number of “Designated Offences”, the Crown Attorney makes an application in front of the court for a SOIRA order.  Failure to comply with the order becomes a new criminal charge, and the registry requirements continue for 10 years, 20 years, or life, depending on the maximum penalty for the offence upon which the conviction is registered.

Is there a statute of limitations for Sexual Assault and other offences in Canada?

Unlike in the United States, there is no statute of limitations for crimes in Canada.  We regularly see complaints and charges laid in what are deemed “historical offences” and trials fill the front pages of our newspapers with incidents that may have occurred decades ago.

What is Invitation to Sexual Touching in Canada?

Invitation to Sexual Touching is a criminal offence that involves inviting, counselling or inciting a person under the age of 16 to touch “directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, the body of any person, including the body of the person who so invites, counsels or incites and the body of the person under the age of 16 years.”  It is a designated offence for SOIRA sex offender registry purposes and carries a possible term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year.

Is it possible to get a Sexual Assault charge dropped or withdrawn?

The high standard of proof for conviction in Canada means that a significant number of cases, including serious sex crimes and sexual assault cases, end up resulting in favourable outcomes to a persons charged.  Whether by acquittal or a withdrawal based on no reasonable prospect of conviction following extensive negotiations with the Crown Attorney, our criminal defence office strives to obtain the best possible outcome for its clients in all criminal matters. We offer free consultations for clients charged in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.