What Are Defences to Child Sexual Assault?
Allegations of child sexual assault are serious charges that command hyperbolic headlines and often rip families apart. Such charges often end up isolating the defendant and making legal defences much more difficult. That’s why hiring an experienced and compassionate lawyer at Wilson Criminal Defence as soon as possible can help you defend against the charges in smart and strategic ways.
Child sexual assault is often a crime of opportunity. A close, perhaps even familial relationship, gives an adult access to a child and opportunities to be alone together. However, those close relationships—father, stepfather, uncle, teacher, pastor, priest, counsellor—are also the foundation for viable defences. A close relationship with a child also provides a motive for the child, or someone close to the child, to raise false claims.
Not everyone accused of child sexual assault is guilty. Children can be manipulated and used by adults to get revenge and reparations in messy divorce and custody battles. A child can use these allegations to change custody arrangements or residence and end parental relationships the child dislikes.
Because of the usual closeness between the child and the adult accused of wrongdoing, these cases are easy to allege but difficult to defend. That’s why early intervention by an experienced criminal defence lawyer with specific expertise in child sexual assault is essential to preserve all available defences. An experienced lawyer at Wilson Criminal Defence can negotiate treatment and sentences knowledgeably and compassionately.
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Early retention of experienced counsel means an immediate investigation led by your lawyer to uncover the facts, any inconsistencies, and unsavoury motives in voicing the charges. Early investigation might include lie detector tests and psycho-sexual testing. Early investigation can preempt prosecution if the basis for the accusations is tainted or the motives of the child or custodial parent appear self-serving. Here’s where experience really counts. Prosecutors are more likely to listen to lawyers they know and trust. Prosecutors in Calgary know Wilson Criminal Defence.
Early retention of counsel also allows your lawyer to determine how the child became aware of sexual terminology and specific sexual acts, especially if the child is very young. Here experience permits counsel to identify any coaching or adult manipulation.
The law is very protective of the child who makes the accusations, often preventing the accused from having access to the child for deposition or cross-examination before trial. However, there are civil proceedings that can be used to uncover statements the child has given and any evidence produced. Only experienced counsel knows how to gain access to essential evidence when the state is protective of the child accuser.
Deciding whether you will testify at trial, and how to prepare you for this experience, and hiring experts to augment your defence, are decisions best left to experienced criminal defence counsel and made early in the prosecution of the offences. Cory Wilson has that expertise.
What To Do When False Allegations Are Made?
Not all allegations of child sexual assault are true. Children can be manipulated by other close adults, especially in bitter divorce and custody battles, and children themselves might have motives to change schools or residence, to become emancipated, or to act out the anger they feel from a custodial parent or grandparent. These allegations are often complex with hidden agendas and motivations. When false allegations are made, experienced criminal defence lawyers at Wilson Criminal Defence can put strategies into motion to reveal the underlying intentions as a defence to the charges. This requires skill and nuance, because of the judiciary’s inherent protectiveness of the child.
Prosecutors, social workers and psychologists, judges, and juries many times have biases against defendants in these kinds of prosecutions. To counter these prejudices, experienced counsel knows how to humanize the accused so that he is perceived as human and vulnerable, not a monster. Avoiding generic terms like “my client”, “the defendant”, “the accused”, and using words that are specific to you helps to elicit the compassion needed to fairly judge the circumstances of the allegations.
At Wilson Criminal Defence, we will represent you as an individual and as a human being deserving of dignity and respect.
Children are subjected to a forensic interview, usually conducted by a social worker or psychologist, who is sympathetic to the child, and can often end up unintentionally, or intentionally, coaching or manipulating the child’s memories and testimony. These forensic interviews are usually videotaped and although defence counsel is not allowed to attend, can insist in subsequent judicial proceedings to gain access to the taped interview.
Defence counsel often hires experts to review these tapes to reveal inappropriate coaching or planting of ideas in the child’s mind. Important strategic decisions as to whether and how to challenge the forensic interview, and whether to put the client on the stand at trial, need to be made by knowing lawyers, like those working at Wilson Criminal Defence, to best protect your rights and freedom.
Cory Wilson is a criminal defence lawyer based in Calgary. If you have been charged with a criminal offence or are a suspect in a criminal investigation, call today at 403-978-6052 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Cory has represented individuals from all walks of life including lawyers, police officers, athletes, corporate executives, teachers, and everything in between. Cory believes in access to justice for every person charged with a criminal offence regardless of their economic background.