CALGARY SEXUAL INTERFERENCE LAWYERS

Cory Wilson has extensive experience in defending sexual interference, sexual assault and other sexual-related criminal offences.

Sexual interference is an incredibly serious offence that often carries lengthy periods of jail if convicted. Just being accused of sexual interference carries a significant stigma that can irreparably damage your reputation. For these reasons, it is important that you hire the right criminal lawyer to properly defend you. Cory Wilson has defended countless clients charged with sexual interference serving Calgary, Okotoks, Airdrie, Strathmore, Cochrane, Canmore, Didsbury, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Grand Prairie, and Turner Valley.

Calgary Sexual Interference Lawyers

What is Sexual Interference?

Sexual interference is the intentional touching of a person under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose. While similar to sexual assault, this offence is reserved only for situations in which the complainant is under the age of 16.

Unlike sexual assault that requires the touching to be of a “sexual nature”, sexual interference goes further and requires the touching to be for a “sexual purpose.” Touching for a sexual purpose requires that the accused intended sexual interaction of any kind and with that specific intent, made contact with the body of a person under 16 with any part of the accused’s body or object. Touching of a sexual nature for the purposes of a sexual assault does not require there to be an element of sexuality on the part of the accused. This makes sexual interference more difficult for the Crown Prosecutor to prove because they must demonstrate the accused had the specific intent to touch for a sexual purpose, rather than simply touching.

In order to be convicted of sexual interference, the Crown must prove the following essential elements:

  • The accused knew the complainant was under the age of 16 or failed to take reasonable steps to determine the complainant’s age;
  • The accused touched the complainant for a sexual purpose with his or her body or object; and
  • The touching was intentional

Sexual interference carries significant penalties if convicted. The starting point for a major sexual interference is 3 years’ incarceration in which there was a serious violation of the physical and sexual integrity of the complainant and that a reasonable person could reasonably foresee that the act could cause the complaint serious psychological harm. It is important to contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer if you have been charged with any sexual offence. Cory Wilson has successfully represented individuals charged with all sexual offences, including sexual interference.

Defences to Sexual Interference

Like any other criminal offence, defences to a charge of sexual interference are based heavily on the circumstances of your individual case. Sexual interference is the intentional touching of a person under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose. In order to be convicted, the prosecutor must prove each of the essential elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Depending on the allegations, potential defenses to sexual interference are:

  • The sexual act did not occur;
  • The sexual act occurred but the complainant was not under the age of 16 at the time;
  • The sexual act occurred but the complaint lied about his or her age causing the accused to have an honest but mistaken belief that the complainant was over the age of 16;
  • Touching occurred to a person under the age of 16, but it was not for a sexual purpose;
  • Intoxication

The sexual act did not occur

Sexual offences have been described as the most under-reported and most over-reported of all criminal offences. This means that many victims of sexual offences never report the offence to police for a multitude of reasons. It is also over-reported in that complainants either make a false report or as is often the case with very young children, a complainant has come to believe the sexual act occurred when it in fact did not. Unless an accused has a solid alibi on the exact day of the alleged offence, it is very likely that the accused will have to testify in his or her own defence that the act was not committed.

The sexual act occurred but the complainant was not under the age of 16 at the time

In some circumstances, questions arise as to the actual date of the alleged sexual act. If the Crown Prosecutor cannot prove the complainant was under 16 at the time of the alleged offence, you cannot be convicted. In some circumstances, issues arise about the actual age of the complainant. In some countries, such as Ethiopia, a different calendar is used than that in Canada. This makes proving the actual legal birthday of the complainant very difficult and a skilled defence lawyer can raise a reasonable doubt as to the actual age of the complainant.

Mistaken belief in age

The defence of mistaken belief in age most often occurs in situations where the complainant lies about his or her age. In such situations, the court will look to see if the accused took all reasonable steps to ascertain the actual age of the complainant despite the deception.

Touching was not for a sexual purpose

It is a full defence to the charge if the accused can demonstrate that the touching was not for a sexual purpose. Examples of this are in situations of medical examinations or accidental or inadvertent touching.

Intoxication

The offence is sexual interference is one of specific intent, which means that intoxication is a defence. It is not simply a defence to say that the accused was intoxicated, but that as a result of the intoxication, the accused could not form the specific intent to touch the complainant for a sexual purpose.

What is the age of consent in Canada?

The age of consent in Canada is 16. However, if a person is 12 or 13, they are legally able to consent to sexual activity with someone who is less that two years older than them as long as that person:

  • Is not in a position of trust or authority towards them
  • Is not in a relationship of dependency

If a person is 14 or 15, they can legally consent to sexual contact with someone who is less than 5 years older than them, as long as that person:

  • Is not in a position of trust or authority towards them
  • Is not in a relationship of dependency