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Sexual Interference Lawyer Toronto

Navigating sexual interference charges in Toronto? Our skilled lawyers are here to protect your rights and provide expert legal guidance.

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Sexual Interference Lawyer Toronto: Protecting Your Rights

Are you facing sexual interference charges? Costa Law is a reputable law firm that protects the rights of accused individuals by aggressively defending against serious allegations of sexual assault. Most people think a child or a young person under 16 years cannot lie about any sexual activity – but they can. When they do, a mere allegation of both sexual assault and sexual interference can destroy more than just someone’s reputation.

Even when you are innocent of the charges against you or the alleged victim changes their story later, the damage to your reputation is already done. Luckily, working with our experienced lawyers makes it possible to protect your rights and your reputation.

We will assess the sexual interference allegations against you and get the case dismissed or withdrawn if there is no basis for prosecution. Even when your case goes to trial, we will fight for your right to a fair trial and get the best possible outcome for your case.

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Sexual Interference in Canadian Law

Canada’s Criminal Code usually treats sexual interference and other forms of sexual assault as serious offences. These criminal offences can result in severe consequences upon conviction. So, what’s sexual interference?

It is any physical contact made against a person under 16 years old, particularly for a sexual purpose. 16 years is legally considered the age of consent in Ontario. Under Section 151 of Canada’s Criminal Code, the sexual interference crime carries a maximum of 14 years imprisonment, just like sexual assault – when charged as an indictable offence.

If charged as a summary of conviction offence, sexual interference carries up to 2 years less one-day prison term and a minimum of a 90-day term. Just like sexual assault and other sexual offences, a conviction may result in other significant penalties and consequences on your professional and personal life.

Common Defence for Sexual Interference in Toronto

Sexual interference is a serious sexual offence punishable by a prison term. Once convicted, you face more than just a criminal record and prison time. That’s why you need to work with our lawyers to assess your case and create a strong defence strategy. This strategy may involve the following:

Consent Defence

Because of the legal age limit associated with the crime of sexual interference, you (the accused person) cannot raise the consent defence. However, some exceptions may support your defence. Our lawyer will assess your case and determine if these exceptions can apply. Such exceptions are often based on the difference in age between the accused person and the minor (the victim).

Our lawyers can successfully mount a successful defence if the victim (minor) is 12 or 13 years old and the accused is less than two years older, isn’t in a position of authority or trust, isn’t in a relationship of dependency, and isn’t in an exploitive relationship with the minor. If the victim is a young person under the age of 14 to 15 years, the alleged offender must be less than five years older, not in a position of authority, and isn’t in an exploitative relationship.

Note that an accused individual who is over five years older than a 14 to 15-year-old victim can still mount the consent defence successfully. This is possible if they are married or a common-law partner to the minor. In this situation, the accused can’t be in a relationship of dependency on the complainant or a position of trust or authority.

Honest but Mistaken Belief in Age

If you are facing sexual interference charges, our lawyer can help raise a defence based on having an honest but mistaken belief in the victim’s age. However, proving this belief in a courtroom can be challenging unless you have credible evidence showing that the minor lied to you about their age.

If you don’t have such evidence, you will need to prove to the court that you took the necessary steps to know the minor’s age before the sexual intercourse or any other alleged sexual activity. The subjective nature of the actions that constitute the ‘necessary steps’ means that the judge or jury must weigh all the factors that determine what could be considered reasonable under the situation. Some of these factors include:

  • The age difference between the accused and the complainant
  • How well did the accused know the minor before the sexual activity
  • The minor’s physical appearance
  • The appearance and age of the minor’s close associates and friends
  • The location and time of the sexual activity that’s being considered a sexual interference
  • Prior sexual history of the complainant (minor)

A thorough assessment of these factors allows the judge or jury to determine the reasonable steps the accused should have taken to know the minor’s true age. Suppose you (the accused individual) didn’t know the minor well. In that case, you would be expected to make more effort to know the minor’s age.

Remember, our lawyers are always ready to present facts and defend you. We can go to great lengths, such as filing a 276 application – requesting the court to determine whether we raise the prior sexual history of the alleged minor as part of our defence. Indeed, we work tirelessly to get an acquittal or the best possible outcome for our clients.

Lack of Intent

Our lawyers can use this defence if there’s credible evidence to demonstrate that you (the defendant) didn’t intend to engage in any activity of a sexual nature with a minor. For instance, you may have unintentionally collided with the complainant, resulting in accidental touching that might be mistaken for a sexual purpose.

This is where the mens rea (or the guilty mind) comes into play. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your actions were intentional. Thus, our sexual interference lawyer will counter by demonstrating that there’s a reasonable doubt to believe that there was no intent.

Challenging the Prosecutor’s Evidence

Costa Law has a team of highly experienced lawyers who will thoroughly assess the evidence against you. We will identify all possible problems with the forensic evidence or inconsistencies in the witness statement. We can use such issues to challenge the evidence presented during your case trial.

Undoubtedly, creating a solid defence strategy against both sexual assault and sexual interference charges can be challenging. It requires a profound criminal justice knowledge. This is why you must hire an experienced lawyer who specializes in criminal defence. Our lawyers are always ready to fight for your rights and ensure you get a fair trial.

Sexual Assault vs. Sexual Interference

According to criminal law, sexual assault includes a broad range of sex-related behaviours without any consent. Some of these behaviours include unwanted sexual touching, unconsented sexual intercourse, child pornography, and more. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant engaged in the alleged sexual activity without the plaintiff’s consent and the defendant knew about the lack of consent at the time of the crime.

Under Canadian law, sexual interference applies in any situation where an individual touches any part of the body of a minor for a sexual purpose, like sexual gratification. To get a sexual interference conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant touched the minor intentionally for sexual purposes.

Note that sexual interference in Toronto may include direct or indirect contact with the minor’s body. Any action involving touching the minor with an object or having the minor touch the accused’s body constitutes this crime. Examples of sexual interference offences include touching a minor’s genitals inappropriately, engaging in any sexual activity in front of a minor, forcing the minor to touch the accused’s body, and more.

Both sexual interference and sexual assault involve unconsented sexual activity. However, there are key differences between these two offences or charges. A key difference concerns the age of the alleged victim. A sexual interference charge only applies when the victim is under the age of consent – 16 years. On the other hand, sexual assault charges can apply to any age.

Another main difference is the accused individual’s state of mind. All sexual assault charges require credible evidence that the accused already knew or was reckless about the victim’s lack of consent to sexual activity. Unlike sexual assault, a sexual interference charge doesn’t require proof of lack of consent. This is because the complainants in these cases are minors who cannot legally consent to any sexual activity.

Penalties for Sexual Interference in Toronto

Sexual interference in Toronto carries severe penalties under Section 151 of the Criminal Code. Touching a person under 16 years for a sexual purpose can lead to up to 14 years in prison for an indictable offence, with a mandatory minimum of one year. Summary conviction can result in a maximum punishment of two years less a day in prison, with a minimum of 90 days.

On the other hand, a conviction may also require you to provide your information to the national and provincial sex offenders registry. This can probably bring a lifetime ban on certain activities involving children.

Note that sexual assault, as outlined in the Criminal Code, can lead to up to 10 years imprisonment for an indictable offence or up to 14 years if the complainant is under 16, with a minimum sentence of one year. Summary conviction may result in up to 18 months in prison or up to two years less a day if the complainant is under 16, with a minimum of six months.

At Costa Law, we understand the gravity of these penalties. That’s why our lawyers are dedicated to defending you tirelessly. We know the nuances of these sex-related charges and will work diligently to protect your rights to a fair trial. Regardless of the circumstances of your case, our legal team is committed to providing you with the strongest defence possible to get the most favourable outcome.

Other Consequences of a Sexual Interference Conviction

In addition to the minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term, here are the other consequences of being convicted of sexual interference.

Registering as a Sex Offender

A conviction for sexual interference in Ontario leads to mandatory registration under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act. This places the individual’s name and personal details in the National Sex Offender Registry.

Further, the convicted person must be listed on the Ontario Sex Offender Registry. Being on these registries can profoundly impact one’s life, affecting employment prospects and overall quality of life.

Thus, it’s crucial to have our qualified criminal defence lawyer represent you, fight the charges against you and get an acquittal or the best possible outcome. Our lawyer will work tirelessly to protect your rights and mitigate the long-term consequences of a sex interference conviction.

Prohibition Order

A conviction for a sexual offence in Toronto can result in a Prohibition Order under Section 161 of the Criminal Code of Canada. This order, at the court’s discretion, prohibits the sex offender from activities that could bring them into contact with persons under 16 years. It may be for life or a shorter period, with conditions or exemptions as deemed appropriate by the court. The Prohibition Order may restrict the offender from:

  • Being present at places like public parks, swimming areas, schools, playgrounds, daycares, or community centres where minors are or could reasonably be present.
  • Pursuing or maintaining employment or volunteer positions involving trust or authority over minors.
  • Contacting minors, directly or through any means, unless supervised by an appropriate person.
  • Using the internet or digital networks except under court-set conditions.

Violation of these orders can lead to further legal consequences. That’s why it’s crucial to have competent legal representation to navigate these complexities and ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Our lawyers will always strategize to determine how to appropriately and effectively fight the criminal charges against you.

The Role of Our Criminal Defence Lawyers

Sexual interference charges can change your life and put you at risk of a criminal record as a convicted sex offender. Our successful criminal defence lawyers can help you get the best possible outcome, protect your rights, and save your reputation. 

Assess the Facts of Your Case

In the face of severe and life-altering penalties for sexually-based offences, pleading guilty without a thorough assessment of the case is unwise. Our criminal defence lawyers at Costa Law will thoroughly analyze the facts and evidence gathered by the prosecution to determine the most strategic course of action for your defence.

Protect your Rights and Represent you

Your legal and constitutional rights are paramount even when facing serious charges like sexual interference and sexual assault. Our lawyers ensure that these rights are upheld during your arrest and throughout the legal process. Indeed, we will provide you with professional and reliable legal representation at every step.

Assess and Challenge Evidence

Scrutinizing the complainant’s statement for discrepancies and inconsistencies is crucial to fighting the charges against you. We also conduct extensive interviews with you to understand your version of events fully.

Any witnesses corroborating your account will be carefully considered. Based on a comprehensive understanding of the case, we will formulate a strategic defence aimed at challenging the prosecution’s evidence and getting the best possible outcome. Our lawyers have handled many sexual interference cases successfully and can even challenge evidence whenever possible.

Obtain the Best Possible Outcome

Your future should not be jeopardized by charges of alleged sexual interference or any other sexually-based crime. Our experienced and knowledgeable sexual assault defence lawyers are committed to diligently working on your behalf. Whether mounting a strong defence or negotiating for the best possible outcome, we tirelessly advocate for your rights and interests.

If you are facing any allegations of sex-related crimes, take the first step in protecting your future. Schedule a free consultation with one of our professionals at Costa Law today.

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