Domestic Assault - Aitken Robertson Barristers & Solicitors

Domestic Assault Lawyers in Peterborough, Ontario – Professional Law Firm and Attorneys

A domestic assault is any sort of assault that takes place between partners in a relationship. The Crown Attorney in Ontario has a policy of prosecuting domestic assault cases “with vigor,” due to the serious nature of the crime and the potential for injury or even death.

What to Expect in a Domestic Assault Case

In most cases, a person who is charged with domestic assault will be held by police overnight until a bail hearing can be scheduled for the following day. The Crown may seek to remand the accused into custody for the duration of the case (which can mean until the end of trial). This outcome is more likely if the accused has a previous criminal record for assault against the same complainant, or if the assault was particularly heinous. In cases where the accused is released, the release almost always comes with the provision that the defendant cannot have any contact with the complainant.

According to the Crown Policy Manual, domestic assault charges will generally not be withdrawn unless there are exceptional circumstances. In most cases, the victim will be required to appear at trial as a Crown witness, and it is important to remember that Crown counsel controls the prosecution. Even if the victim does not wish to press charges, it is up to the Crown to decide whether or not the case ultimately goes forward. The Crown’s decision is usually based on the strength of the case as well as the accused’s history of violence.

Victims who are reluctant to testify may be arrested and brought into court on a material witness warrant, and those under subpoena who fail to attend may be found in contempt of court. Generally, however, the Crown will try to gain a witness’s cooperation through reason and persuasion before resorting to such drastic measures. Even if the victim recants, the defendant can still be convicted, particularly if there is an incriminating videotaped statement.

Peace Bonds in Domestic Assault Cases

Peace bonds, also known as recognizance, are essentially court orders requiring the bearer to keep the peace—that is, to be on their best behavior. Peace bonds are issued under Section 810 of the Criminal Code or the court’s common law jurisdiction. Any person who has reasonable grounds to fear becoming the victim of violence (or fears that his or her spouse, child, or property may become targets), may apply to a justice to have a peace bond issued. Once the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the applicant to be afraid for his or her safety, the accused will be ordered to enter a recognizance in order to keep the peace.

In some minor assault cases, the charge may be dismissed if the accused is willing to enter into a peace bond. The peace bond generally comes with conditions; for example, the accused may be forbidden to go near the home of the person who is covered under the bond’s protection. The accused is also generally not allowed to possess any firearms, ammunition, or explosives.

These bonds may be issued for a period of up to one year, and common law peace bonds can run for even longer. Refusal to sign these bonds may result in prison time of up to one year. Once the bond is entered, it becomes a criminal offence to violate the conditions of the bond. A peace bond alone, however, does not mean that the accused now has a criminal record.

Aitken Robertson: Your Criminal Defence Lawyers for Domestic Assault Charges

The legal team at the law firm of Aitken Robertson has decades of experience in criminal law, with a solid track record of successful cases throughout Peterborough and Ontario. They offer a free initial consultation, affordable fees with flexible payment plans, and evening and weekend hours. They can represent you in any criminal matter, including drug offences, assaults, theft, and fraud, as well as bail hearings and criminal appeals. You can reach Richard Aitken and his team through any one of Aitken Robertson’s office locations or by calling (866) 762-9218.