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Toronto Assault Charges Lawyer

College and University related criminal charges

Many criminal allegations of assault and sexual assault originate at Ontario’s colleges and universities. Statements made to school administration, counsellors and other campus professionals can be used in court.

When a student at a post secondary school believes they have been assaulted their claims will often be reported to school officials, guidance counselors, on campus police officers and other authority figures within the institution. An internal investigation leading to potential academic disciplinary action may be launched. Additionally a police report is sometimes filed by the school or the accuser themselves.

Any evidence gathered by the school will be turned over to the police who may then decide to criminally charge the student. This will include statements made by the alleged victim, the accused, 3rd party witnesses, along with any electronic information gathered relating to the crime. While some cases have video evidence, text messages, social media posts, etc. relating to the offence, often the only evidence presented is the statement/claims of the accuser themselves.

Even just one statement from the accuser is enough for the police to criminally charge. This is true even in cases where a recantation is later made by the complainant. Those charged, and their parents, are often shocked to see their child being criminally charged based on the word of one other person because it seems illogical that something so serious and potentially life-ruining can be based on one person’s word alone. This is however how the criminal justice system works in Canada.

If the accused student is criminally charged they have a much bigger problem than any potential academic sanctions or penalties, they are facing a permanent criminal record, jail, and potential lifetime sex offender registration status.

When someone attends college or university, particularly if they are living on campus, they may get the false impression that school matters are always handled internally. Being young and in a new and very structured environment provides a false sense of isolation from the outside world. They may not realize or fully appreciate that they are immersed in an environment that dramatically increases the likelihood of being accused of a criminal offence that will be reported to the police.

A constellation of factors are responsible for this heightened risk of criminal liability, including:
  1. Proximity to many new people and personalities all at once without knowing who may be prone to making false accusations, have mental health problems, anger issues, etc.

  2. An environment that encourages people to talk about and report social experiences which can lead to embellishments, lies, and investigations

  3. School officials who are often required to report all assault and sexual assault related claims to the police irregardless of their apparent veracity

  4. Increased exposure to alcohol, parties, hookups and other high risk behaviour
From the perspective of the police, it doesn’t matter whether an assault happens on campus or not, they will lay criminal charges if evidence is presented to them (often just a verbal allegation). Cases that relate to anything from a perceived consensual one night stand to those who are in a long term relationship will be classified as domestic violence. All Ontario police forces are required to press charges for practically every domestic allegation irregardless of how minor it may be. This includes so-called simple assaults resulting in no injuries.

Students who are criminally charged often face academic penalties, suspensions, and risk being expelled or having their graduation delayed. While it may seem at first that this is their biggest problem, it pales in comparison to the potential consequences they are facing as a result of the criminal charges. Most post secondary students are 18+ and risk getting a permanent adult criminal conviction record, jail, and sex offender registration in sexual assault cases.

Even if the school ultimately decides not to take disciplinary action against them this has nothing to do with the criminal case. The criminal case proceeds completely independently and has nothing to do with any decisions made at the school level.

How can the police continue with the charges even after the school dismissed it?

These allegations are no different than any other criminal case. The police lay charges and provide the evidence to the Crown Attorney who then prosecutes the accused. If the case is a “he said, she said” type matter based solely on a statement of one party, the Crown will simply have the complainant testify in court as to what happened and it will be up to the judge to decide whether to convict the accused or not.

To be clear, just the statement/testimony of the alleged victim can be enough to support an assault or sexual assault accusation. People are convicted, jailed, and given criminal records everyday based solely on one person’s testimony every day in Ontario.

What if the complainant/victim no longer wants the accused to be charged or to testify against them?

This is a very common scenario in domestic cases. The complainant is not the decision maker as to whether the charges proceed. Ontario Crown Attorneys also follow policies to pursue domestic violence cases vigorously. Even if the alleged victim does not want to testify they can be legally forced to via the power of a subpoena. In some circumstances prior statements made by the complainant to the police, 911, and other 3rd parties may be able to be used as evidence.

Can statements made by the complainant/alleged victim to doctors, psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, social workers, etc. be used in court?

Yes. While such communications are often said to be “confidential” they still can be used in court. Some of these professionals are also obligated to report certain things to the police. Colleges and universities have an abundance of professionals for students to talk to about their social lives and experiences. Students are under the false assumption that these conversations are completely private and confidential, but these professionals can be forced by the courts to testify and turn over their notes, recordings, and records as evidence. In Canada even communications made to a physician can be used in court to support a criminal conviction.

Sometimes the professional who works for or in association with the school will report what someone tells them directly to the police or tell school administration who ultimately file a police report themselves.

Social media posts leading to charges

Not every charge is the result of a police report being filed by someone on campus. Sometimes it is something posted on social media that causes the police to get involved. This includes statements and the posting of images or videos that depict a crime. In a campus environment there are often a lot of people who are recording what is happening at parties and publicly posting it online.

In 2022 the accused may quickly find themselves going from worrying about their grades, to worrying about a school investigation, their reputation/being defamed on social media, and criminal charges by the police. All it takes is one bad encounter or associating with the wrong person (or group) and their entire future can be put in jeopardy.

The most common types of criminal charges originating at college and universities are:
  1. Assault (s. 266)
  2. Sexual Assault (s. 271)
  3. Uttering Threats (s. 264.1)
  4. Voyeurism (s. 162)
  5. Mischief (s. 430)
What is criminal mischief?

While the latter of these, mischief, usually relates to property damage, it can also include behaviour that interferes with someone’s use or enjoyment of property. This could be almost anything such as loud noise, drunken improper behaviour, etc. Mischief is also often included alongside voyeurism charges which on campus may involve hidden cameras or improperly taken sexual photos/videos of someone who is drunk, unclothed, or otherwise exposed.

Sometimes “creepy” photos/videos may not meet the definition of voyeurism but are enough to constitute mischief. For this reason the police will include both charges.

My son or daughter has been charged or contacted by the police and/or school officials to give a statement, answer questions about an incident, etc. what should I do?

If your child has been charged (received a Form 9 Appearance Notice, Form 10 Undertaking, or Form 11 Release Order), you should hire a criminal lawyer immediately to start working on their defence. If they are being asked to give a statement, answer questions, tell their side of the story, or anything else by the police or school officials you should immediately seek independent legal advice from a lawyer. Sometimes it is prudent to have a lawyer respond on your child’s behalf to the college/university.

If your child incriminates themselves by talking to the police or school officials (or anyone else who is not their lawyer), it can and will be used against them by the police to lay charges and secure a conviction in court. While perhaps 20 years ago things may have been handled internally at the school level, in 2022 the exact opposite is true. They are investigated, encouraged to incriminate themselves, and all the evidence is then turned over to the police.

As most college students are young and inexperienced, they may feel pressure to admit to things (which perhaps are not even true) falsely thinking it will help them stay out of trouble with school officials or even their parents. It is human nature to think they will be able to “talk themselves out of it” but in reality all they are doing is making their situation exponentially worse.

Ontario has an abundance of colleges and universities and the calls we get from throughout the province tend to be quite similar. The procedures in dealing with claims tend to be fairly standard among the larger schools such as Ryerson, U of T, York, Humber College, Waterloo, Western, etc. Those accused should exercise their right to remain silent because virtually every school will turn over evidence of any statements they make to the police.


Call us today for a free assessment

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. Our goal is to have the charges withdrawn and the release conditions varied to allow contact without a risky and unnecessary trial. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged throughout all of Ontario, Canada.

You don't need to be apart from your spouse and family, spend tens of thousands of dollars, and risk getting a criminal record because of an unfortunate domestic incident. Have a skilled criminal lawyer protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record.


    call us: 647-228-5969

    contact@torontoassaultlawyer.ca


  call us: 647-228-5969

  contact@torontoassaultlawyer.ca

Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • US travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel


* Please note:

If you are the alleged victim, and are looking to help your spouse/partner's case, please see our affidavit services page here.

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with U.S. travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed. We also only take calls/emails relating to Ontario, Canada area cases.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a domestic assault/uttering threats/mischief related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


 

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  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel