An Assault occurs when a person intentionally applies force, attempts to apply force or threatens to apply force to another person without their consent. An Assault is a criminal offence and is defined in the Criminal Code in section 265:
265. (1) A person commits an assault when
(a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
(b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or
(c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.
(2) This section applies to all forms of assault, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.
(3) For the purposes of this section, no consent is obtained where the complainant submits or does not resist by reason of
(a) the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;
(b) threats or fear of the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;
(c) fraud; or
(d) the exercise of authority.
(4) Where an accused alleges that he believed that the complainant consented to the conduct that is the subject-matter of the charge, a judge, if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and that, if believed by the jury, the evidence would constitute a defense, shall instruct the jury, when reviewing all the evidence relating to the determination of the honesty of the accused’s belief, to consider the presence or absence of reasonable grounds for that belief.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 244; 1974-75-76, c. 93, s. 21; 1980-81-82-83, c. 125, s. 19.
It is important to note that it is not necessary that a person cause harm or injury to another person for an Assault to have occurred. Simply threatening to apply force to another person is enough. Spitting, pushing, and hitting are all examples of Assaultive behavior. The accused person’s intent underlying the behaviour in question is also important; in order to be deemed guilty of an Assault, an individual must have intended to engage in the behaviour in question.
If a person is convicted of Assault by way of summary conviction, the maximum penalty which can be imposed is a fine of $2,000 and/or 6 months in prison. If a person is convicted of Assault as an indictable offence, the maximum penalty faced is 5 years in prison.
Defenses to a charge of Assault include, but are not limited to, consent by the victim, mistaken belief in consent, intoxication, self defense and defense of property.
Other related offences include Uttering Threats, Assault with a Weapon, Assault causing Bodily Harm, Aggravated Assault, Assault Police, Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault with a Weapon, Aggravated Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault.
If you have been charged with this offence, please contact our office to speak with a lawyer regarding the details of your case and the options available to you. It is important that you fully understand your rights and any potential defenses that may be available to you at the earliest possible opportunity. Being found guilty of an Assault can result in a criminal record, which can have potentially devastating consequences to an individual’s family, career, immigration status and ability to travel.