Historical sexual assault refers to any sexual assault that may have occurred in the past. Under the Criminal Code of Canada there is no Statute of Limitations on any indictable offence, including sexual assault or sexual assault of children. Additionally, the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized that victims of such offences may not be mentally or physically ready to report on the crimes until after the standard limitation period has lapsed. As such, even if a sexual assault occurred decades ago, the perpetrator can still be charged and potentially convicted of the offence.
Historical sexual assault trials are complex matters often involving private investigators, lawyers for multiple individuals, medical and other expert witnesses, and a substantial amount of evidence stretching back many years. In addition, the trial requires a deep and thorough knowledge of the Criminal Code in its current and previous form, since the trial is always conducted based on the criminal law as it existed at the time the purported offences occurred (i.e. – if the alleged sexual assault took place in 1980, the law as it existed in 1980 would be applied).
Consequences of Conviction for Historical Sexual Assault
A conviction for any sexual assault charge, whether historical or otherwise, will have a significant, long-term impact on the life of the person who is convicted. Almost every sexual assault conviction results in prison time, registration on the national and provincial sex offender registries, and registration in the national DNA bank.
A sexual assault conviction also carries a significant stigma, affecting employment options and any potential family law matters, including divorce or custody proceedings.
If you are facing historical sexual assault charges it is critical to retain a criminal defence lawyer with significant experience defending these specific charges and taking such cases to trial. Hicks Adams LLP is one of the largest criminal law firms in Canada. Our team of lawyers at Hicks Adams LLP rely on more than a century of collective experience resolutely defending clients against historical sexual assault charges and guiding them through the litigation process. We are very familiar with the various versions of the Criminal Code as well as the legislative and policy changes that have taken place over the years and are well positioned to provide our clients with the best possible defence.
Contact Us for a Free Historical Sexual Assault Consultation
At Hicks Adams LLP our experienced Toronto criminal defence lawyers are ready to defend you against historical sexual assault charges and to guide you through the trial process. Call us at 416-975-1700 or contact us online for a free consultation.