Accused of Sexual Assault: How to Defend Yourself
May 10th, 2020
It is important that you know your rights in the event that you are accused of sexual assault. Some of the commonly asked questions around this sensitive yet incredibly important topic include:
- What should you do if someone accuses you of sexually assaulting them?
- What is your responsibility to present your innocence if you are wrongfully accused of sexual assault?
- When should you consult a lawyer if you are facing charges for sexual assault?
First and foremost, it is important to remember that one of the most fundamental rights in the Canadian justice system is the presumption of innocence. Our laws protect the accused and guarantees that their legal rights must be respected until the judge or jury makes a decision. An accusation of sexual assault does not imply “go directly to jail, do not pass go” for anyone. Ever.
That being said, a wrongful accusation that is properly presented by the prosecuting legal team could sadly result in someone facing lengthy prison terms and mandatory entry into
the sex offender registry for at least 10 years. These are life altering consequences and as such, it is important to arm yourself with accurate information about the steps you should take if you are being accused, or think you might be accused of sexual assault.
If you suspect that someone is building a sexual assault case against you, it is important that you do not go on the defensive and offer any information that could be twisted an used against you by the court.
- no related comments or actions on social media
- no texts or email correspondence with your friends, family, colleagues alluding to the accuser or your actions
- no contact with the person who’s accusing you of sexual misconduct
Even if you have not been accused with sexual assault but you are worried that someone is mounting a case against you, it is important to contact a specialized lawyer to prepare a defense quickly and while your memory is clear.
Your lawyer will prompt you to make a list of potential witnesses who could support your claim of innocence. You will also be encouraged to put in writing all relevant information and give it only to your lawyer. What’s considered relevant information?
Here’s an example of details that your lawyer should have to help build a strong defense for a sexual assault claim against you:
- “I was not at the location where the victim claims to have been assaulted.”
- “I was at a hockey game, and here are the tickets and the names of 2 witnesses who were present.”
- “I have never owned or driven a blue Mustang as claimed by the accuser. I owned and drove a red Honda Civic at that time.”
It’s easy to understand why it is important to gather this information as early as possible before anxiety and confusion sets in during this overwhelmingly stressful time for anyone being accused of sexual assault.
If you are under arrest for sexual assault suspected, remember that you have the right to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. When the police officer reads your rights to you, he tells you that you have the right to remain silent and to communicate with the lawyer of your choice. These are your rights, use them. You must NOT make ANY statements to the police or during an interrogation. Don’t try to defend yourself at this time and do not give any explanation, even if you have nothing to reproach yourself with. Keep silent, it’s your right and your most powerful weapon.
From the moment of your arrest, ask to communicate with Me Jean-François Chénard immediately. With more than 10 years of experience with this type of case, he will be able to provide adequate advice and can immediately begin the process, in order to develop a solid defense strategy.