An assault is the actual or threatened unwanted application of force to another person. Even regular arguments can become heated, and actions in the heat of the moment can constitute assault. Spitting water, pouring a drink on someone or taking a cell phone from someone, are all examples of minor assaults, which could result in criminal charges. There does not have to be an injury for a person to be charged with assault. However, if the injury is serious an accused person could be charged with more serious offences such as assault causing bodily harm or aggravated assault.
Many clients have their first brush with the law when there is an allegation of assault. Many are accused of some kind of domestic assault; these are often referred to as ‘domestics’. This means that some kind of incident occurred in the course of a relationship. It does not mean that the couple lives together, but rather that they are intimate or that there is a position of trust between them. The accused and the alleged victim are not strangers.
The Crown Attorney’s Office takes domestic assault cases very seriously and as a result an accused person may be held in custody for a bail hearing. The Police and Crown generally adhere to the policy that those accused of domestic violence will be held for show cause, meaning that the Crown wants to show the Justice why the person should be detained.
Clients who find themselves in this position need a lawyer who knows the players and can help the accused and his or her family put together a plan for the accused person’s release. Going to a bail hearing unprepared can be a very costly mistake. Even if the charges seem minor, or there was no injury, you will want to ensure that you have all the pieces of the puzzle in place to ensure the best result.
Speak to a lawyer who knows the courthouse, who works there often and who knows the Judges and Justices of the Peace. Each courthouse may have specialized domestic violence courts, or integrated Family Courts to deal with these types of matters. There may be special diversion programs available that all accused persons should be aware of.
At Greenwood Defence Law, we assist our client’s with all aspects of criminal law, including charges stemming from a domestic assault. All accused persons are innocent until proven guilty, and should not be punished before they have been convicted.
This article should not be relied upon as legal advice - the comments may not be applicable to you and may not be up to date. If you have any questions, you should contact a lawyer.