What We Defend

Set out below are the charges we defend people against coupled with a brief explanation of each type of charge:

Assaults (including Assault with a Weapon, Assault Causing Bodily Harm, Aggravated Assault)

There are several different types of “assaults” under the Criminal Code of Canada.  We defend against all of them.  Although the circumstances may differ, the common element among all assaults is an intentional application of force without the consent of another person.  Even a touch can be an assault in certain cases. 

Section 265(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada defines assault: A person commits an assault when without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly; 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 while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

If bodily harm is caused, or if a weapon is used in the commission of the assault, the charge is considered more serious as such, the potential punishment increases.  “Bodily Harm” is defined as any hurt or injury to a person that interferes with the health or comfort of that person and is more than merely transient or trifling in nature whereas.  A person commits an “aggravated assault” when they wound, maim, disfigure or endanger the life of another.

Like all offences in the Criminal Code, there are several defences available to someone charged with an assault related offence, the most common being “self defence”.  The law allows for the use of self-defence in many situations and may apply even when an accused initially assaults another person without justification.   It can also apply when one is not even defending an attack against him or herself, but when defending someone who is under his or her protection.  These are just some of the situations in which self-defence can apply.  Like all of the available defences, the law is quite complex. 

 

Domestic Assaults

There is no separate charge in the Criminal Code called “domestic assault”.  Domestic assaults are treated differently, however, by the Courts and Crown Attorneys.  Indeed, many courthouses have specific courtrooms designed to deal with “domestic assault” matters and similarly, many Crown Attorneys’ offices have Crowns specifically trained to deal with these matters.  

In response, the lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP have devoted the necessary time and resources to successfully represent those charged with domestic assault related matters throughout all stages of the case, including: the bail hearing,  bail variations allowing contact, pre-trials, and ultimately, the trial itself.  In terms of the specific charges themselves, the Criminal Code provisions are the same as for any assault related offence -  and we defend against all of them. 

Although the circumstances may differ, the common element among all assaults is an intentional application of force without the consent of another person.  Even a touch can be an assault in certain cases. 

Section 265(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, defines assault: A person commits an assault when without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly; 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 while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

If bodily harm is caused, or if a weapon is used in the commission of the assault, the charge is considered more serious as such, the potential punishment increases.  “Bodily Harm” is defined as any hurt or injury to a person that interferes with the health or comfort of that person and is more than merely transient or trifling in nature whereas, a person commits an “aggravated assault” when they wound, maim, disfigure or endanger the life of another.

Like all offences in the Criminal Code, there are several defences available to someone charged with an assault related offence, the most common being “self defence”.  The law allows for the use of self-defence in many situations and may apply even when an accused initially assaults another person without justification.   It can also apply when one is not even defending an attack against him or herself, but when one is defending someone who is under his/her protection.  These are just some of the situations in which self-defence can apply.  Like all of the available defences, the law is quite complex. 

 

Sexual Assaults

“Sexual Assaults” are specific types of assaults.  They merit their own category because, like “domestic assaults”, they are treated differently by both the Courts and the Crown Attorneys’ office.  Perhaps, most importantly, they are treated differently within the Criminal Code itself as different penalties and procedures apply when one faces a sexual assault charge.   To list but one example, anyone convicted of a “sexual assault” offence will have their name placed on the Sexual Offender Registry in addition to any other penalty he or she might receive.   The lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP, understand the drastic consequences that a conviction for a sexual assault offence will have, and aggressively defend against all sexual assault charges. 

To prove a sexual assault, the Crown must first prove that an “assault” took place. 

A person commits an assault when without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly; 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 while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

To prove that the assault was a 'sexual assault', the Crown must prove that the force that was applied took place in circumstances of a sexual nature.  

There are numerous defences to a charge of “sexual assault”.  Of course, the Crown must prove that there was no consent on behalf of the complainant.  “Consent” is a very complex issue but essentially, it involves a voluntary agreement between the parties – the consent must be freely given.    In law, there is no consent if the complainant was too intoxicated or was unable to understand the sexual nature of the conduct due to any reason including, age or mental ability.  Further, consent is not voluntary if the defendant abused a position of power or trust. 

 

Drug Offences (including Trafficking, Importing, Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking and Possession)

There are numerous drug related offences.  They are listed in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and include 'personal use', possession, possession for the purpose of trafficking, trafficking in drugs, and importing drugs.  The lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP defend against all of them. 

Different penalties apply depending on the offence itself and the type of drug (cocaine, heroin, marijuana and crystal meth, to list but a few) involved.  The penalties for importing heroin are significantly greater than they are for importing marijuana. 

One of the most common ways our lawyers defend drug charges is to show that the drugs that the police seized were found in violation of a person’s constitutional rights as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  That is, even if you are found with drugs in your possession, the case can still be successfully defended.  You have many rights under the Charter, including:

Section 8:            Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

Section 9:            Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.

Regrettably, these two rights are commonly violated by the police.  The lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP  are known for their aggressive defence of their clients'  constitutional rights and routinely have the drugs 'excluded' from evidence resulting in acquittals.  For examples, please see our “Recent Successes”.

Even if there is not a Charter violation, the Crown must still prove that you actually possessed the drugs.  This is more difficult than it seems: the Crown must prove that you had both “knowledge” and “control” over the drugs.

To discuss your case, please contact one of the lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP directly.

 

Murder and Manslaughter

The offence of murder is the most serious offence in the Criminal Code.  It will likely come as no surprise that the punishment for murder is life imprisonment. 

You cannot successfully defend against a murder charge without a lawyer who is experienced, confident, and willing to roll-up their sleeves and fight.  No criminal defence firm in the country defends against murder charges as often as the lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP

It is this experience that leads to their successful results.

Most people reading this will have a general idea of what constitutes “murder”.  However, the Criminal Code has specific definitions that will determine the 'type' of murder.   The following is a list of some of the Criminal Code sections that apply to murder and manslaughter.

 

222(1)                   Everyone commits homicide when, directly or indirectly, by any means, he causes the death of a human being.

222(2)                   Homicide is culpable or not culpable.

222(3)                  Homicide that is not culpable is not an offence.

222(4)                   Culpable homicide is murder or manslaughter or infanticide.

222(5)                   A person commits culpable homicide when he causes the death of a human being,

  1. by means of an unlawful act

 

  1. by criminal negligence

 

  1. by causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death; or

 

  1. by wilfully frightening that human being, in the case of a child or sick person.

 

229.                        Culpable homicide is murder

  1. where the person who causes the death of a human being

 

  1. means to cause his death, or

 

  1. means to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and is reckless whether death ensures or not

 

  1. where a person, meaning to cause death to a human being or meaning to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and being reckless whether death ensures or not, by accident or mistake causes death to another human being, notwithstanding that he does not mean to cause death or bodily harm to that human being; or

 

  1. where a person, for an unlawful object, does anything that he knows or ought to know is likely to cause death, and thereby causes death to a human being, notwithstanding that he desires to effect his object without causing death or bodily harm to any human being.

231 (1)                 Murder is first degree murder or second degree murder.

231(2)                   Murder is first degree murder when it is planned and deliberate.

231(7)                   All murder that is not first degree murder is second degree murder.

232(1)                   Culpable homicide that otherwise would be murder may be reduced to manslaughter if the person who committed it did so in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation.         

234                         Culpable homicide that is not murder or infanticide is manslaughter.

235(1)                   Every one who commits first degree murder or second degree murder is guilty of an indictable offence and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life.

Not surprisingly, the issues surrounding murder charges are extremely complex, as are the defences to murder.  In addition to the charges of Murder and Manslaughter, a person can also be charged with Attempt Murder and Accessory After the Fact to Murder.  To discuss your case, please contact one of the lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP directly.

 



 

 

 

Drinking and Driving Offences

Drinking and Driving offences, sometimes referred to as “DUI” offences, include:  Impaired Driving, Over 80, and Refuse to Provide Breath Sample.  They are all listed in the Criminal Code of Canada.   

Offences

253(1)                   Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

  1. while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or
  2. having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood. 

 

253(2)                   For greater certainty, the reference to impairment by alcohol or a drug in paragraph (1)(a) includes impairment by a combination of alcohol and a drug. 

 

254(5)                   Every one commits an offence who, without reasonable excuse, fails or refuses to comply with a demand made under this section (applying to providing breath samples/performing tests). 

 

As seen above, it is clear that a person can be guilty of “impaired driving” if a drug (for example, marijuana) was the cause of the impairment as opposed to alcohol.   There are specific tests that police officers employ to determine if one has consumed alcohol and/or drugs.   The lawfulness of those tests in any particular case is always in question.   Further, in almost every case, your constitutional rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms will play an important role, specifically:

 

Section 8:          Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

Section 9:          Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.

Section 10:       Everyone has the right on arrest or detention

  1. to be informed promptly of the reasons therefore;

 

  1. to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and

 

  1. to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.

 

 

There are numerous ways to defend against these charges; not surprisingly, this area of law is extremely complex.  Further, if convicted, the penalties are extremely severe and can involve driving prohibitions and even jail.  Because of this, you absolutely need a lawyer with the proven experience to defend against a drinking and driving charge.  

 

To discuss your case, please contact one of the lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP directly.

 

 



 

 

 

Bail Hearings

After the arrest, the bail hearing represents one of the first stages of a case.  It is also one of the most important.  Liberty lost can never be regained.    The lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP understand this and have represented people at thousands of bail hearings.   One important aspect of any bail hearing is locating and preparing a surety.  To be released on bail, you will likely require a strong surety, someone who can demonstrate to the Court that they will be able to ensure that you will attend court and abide by the conditions of the bail.  The surety needs to be prepared thoroughly by the lawyer in advance of the bail hearing.  The importance of this preparation cannot be overstated.  The surety should also understand the sections of the Criminal Code relating to bail hearings to demonstrate to the Court their understanding of a surety’s responsibilities.   Below, are some of the sections in the Criminal Code of Canada relating to bail hearings, “judicial interim release”:

 When Detention is Justified: 

515(10)                 For the purposes of this section, the detention of an accused in custody is justified only on one or more of the following grounds:

(a)          where the detention is necessary to ensure his or her attendance in court in order to be dealt with according to law;

(b)          where the detention is necessary for the protection or safety of the public, including any victim of or witness to the offence, or any person under the age of 18 years, having regard to all the circumstances including any substantial likelihood that the accused will, if released from custody, commit a criminal offence or interfere with the administration of justice; and

(c)           if the detention is necessary to maintain confidence in the administration of justice, having regard to all the circumstances, including

(i) the apparent strength of the prosecution’s case,

(ii) the gravity of the offence,

(iii) the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence,       including whether a firearm was used, and

(iv) the fact that the accused is liable, on conviction, for a potentially lengthy term of imprisonment or, in the case of an offence that involves, or whose subject-matter is, a firearm, a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of three years or more.

Section 524 Bail Hearing:

524. (1)                Where a justice is satisfied that there are reasonablegrounds to believe that an accused

(a) has contravened or is about to contravene any summons, appearance notice, promise to appear, undertaking or recognizance that was issued or given to him or entered into by him, or

(b) has committed an indictable offence after any summons, appearance notice, promise to appear, undertaking or recognizance was issued or given to him or entered into by him,

he may issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused.
 

 

In summary, an accused person can be denied bail if the Court reasonably feels that he or she will not show up for trial, commit a further offence which would endanger the safety of the public or if releasing the accused from custody would undermine the confidence in the administration of the justice system.  Our lawyers fight extremely hard to protect an accused person’s constitutional guarantee to reasonable bail.  Further, our lawyers regularly challenge decisions denying bail by appealing those decisions to the Superior Court of Justice by way of a Bail Review. 

To discuss your case, please contact one of the lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP directly.

 



 

 

 

Youth Offences

Criminal offences are found under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.   While these offences apply to all people, if under the age of eighteen years old, the Youth Criminal Justice Act  governs your case.    

This is a relatively new statute.   Formerly, youth charges were governed by the Young Offender’s Act and before that, the Juvenile Delinquent’s Act.  The Youth Criminal Justice Act contains specific procedures and provisions that apply to all individuals under the age of eighteen, including: bail hearings, and sentencing procedures.   For example, while the Charter of Rights applies to all individuals charged with criminal offences, and youths certainly enjoy the protection of the Charter, the Youth Criminal Justice Act contains further protections for youths. 

One troubling aspect of the youth system is that even if you are under the age of eighteen, depending on the offence, you can still be tried and sentenced as an adult.   People who say that the “youth criminal justice system” is too soft on crime, are misguided.  The consequences of a conviction and potential punishment can be devastating. 

In Toronto, there are two courthouses that deal with Youth matters.  In fact, one of them deals only with Youth matters.  This is a reflection of the unique attention given to youths in the criminal justice system.  In turn, lawyers representing youths must have the training and experience to successfully navigate through the youth system to obtain successful results.  The lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP  have just that.  The lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP do just that. 

Regardless of your charge, regardless of your age, the consequence of a youth record can be severe.  To discuss your case, please contact one of the lawyers at Rusonik, O’Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP directly. 

 

 

 

Click on the links below to get a flavour of the work we do and an understanding of how we'll be able to help you with the criminal problem you're facing:

Charter: Unreasonable Search and Seizure

Charter: Arbitrary Detention

Charter: Rights to Counsel

Charter: Unreasonable Delay

Admissibility of Statements made to Police

Drug Offences

Driving Offences

Domestic Violence

Assaults and Threats

Obstructing Police

Criminal Harassment

Thefts and Frauds

Sexual Assaults

Robbery

Gun and Weapons Offences

Murder and Manslaughter

Bail Hearings