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Sex Assault Cases: Should I or Should I Not Call the Accused to Testify on His or Her Own Behalf?





The criminal court system is flooded by sex assault cases. As a lawyer, we take on several sex assault cases in our office.

Attached is a successful result from a not so recent trial decision. One of the key questions that clients often ask, and which I ponder about is, should I ask the client to testify or not. That is indeed a difficult question to answer. In a sex assault case where the issue is mistaken belief of consent, which means that the accused actually had sex thinking that the complainant had said yes or had consented to the action, my thinking is, that it’s generally a good practice to ask the accused to testify in his own defense.


But, ironically, in this particular trial I did not do that. I had to make a decision and recommendation which my client accepted. The reason that my client did not testify was because of the perceived weakness of the complainant during her own testimony and our conviction that the Crown had not been able to prove the case beyond a reasonable belief.


Calling the complainant to testify differs from case to case and is fact driven. I can make that recommendation to the client whose decision it is of course ultimately based on how the Crown's case goes.


At Shankar Law, we take on all kinds of criminal law cases apart from matrimonial and family cases. We take on cases all over Ontario. We have physical offices in Owensound, Port Elgin and Wiarton and we look forward to serving you.

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