Child Sexual Offences

What are Child Sexual Offences?

Child sexual offences include child pornography offences, sexual assault, sexual interference, and human trafficking offences. Each of these offences is different and each requires a different approach. Dealing with child witnesses and complainants requires experienced counsel, and complex procedures are often in place in cases involving child witnesses.

Child sexual offences are serious offences. Child sexual offences are made more complicated by special rules regarding these offences. These special rules include rules about evidence and admissibility of out-of-court statements, special rules about consent and the age of consent, and special rules about whether the under-18 complainant is able to consent to the activity in question. Other procedures for obtaining third-party records add to the complexity of sexual assault and child sexual assault proceedings. The often-vulnerable nature of sexual assault complainants also makes cross-examining these witnesses a challenging endeavour.

Human trafficking is often colloquially known as ‘pimping’. Allegations under the umbrella of human trafficking often involve forced participation of the sex trade by young and vulnerable complainants. Not surprisingly, convictions for human trafficking offences carry serious sentences, including penitentiary sentences.

Child pornography offences include possession, distribution, and making child pornography. These offences are often charged with other offences such as sexual interference and sexual assault. Convictions for these offences can be life-changing, as they can interfere with relationships and carry a very high societal stigma. Investigations into these offences can include online undercover operations, can be pursued by multiple police agencies and can arise from investigations outside of Canada.

Misha has experience defending these very serious offences, including bringing Charter applications to exclude evidence or to stay charges on the basis of unreasonable delay. These serious offences require experienced counsel. If you or a family member has been charged with a child sexual offence, contact our office today.

What is the Penalty for Child Sexual Offences? Is there Jail Time?

A common feature of all child sexual offences is that, upon conviction, a serious penalty is usually warranted. Some offences, for example, child pornography offences, carry mandatory minimum jail sentences. In other circumstances, jail sentences are common. Judges who convict individuals for child sexual offences are usually required to impose other ancillary orders such as orders to comply with federal and provincial sex offender registries. Aside from the sentence imposed by the judge, convictions for child sexual offences can impact family law proceedings, immigration status, employment and volunteer opportunities.

What happens if you're charged with Child Sexual Offences?

Anyone charged with Child Sexual Offences has a right to counsel. The police must inform you of the reason for your arrest and must make reasonable efforts to assist you to speak with your counsel of choice. Typically, if you are brought to a police station, they will give you an opportunity to speak with your lawyer of choice in a private room.

Depending on the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of the case, the police may release you from the station or may hold you for a bail hearing. If you are held for bail, they will advise you so that you may make arrangements to contact a lawyer and assist you in contacting your friends or family to act as sureties for your bail. You have a right to be brought before a Justice or Judge within a reasonable time but in any event within 24 hours of your arrest.

At your bail hearing, your lawyer and the Crown will argue about whether you should be released from custody and, if so, what reasonable terms of bail should be imposed. Any person charged with a crime has a right to a reasonable bail.

Contact our office if a friend or family member has been charged with an offence, or if they are being held for bail.

Why shouldn't I just plead guilty to Child Sexual Offences?

A criminal conviction for Child Sexual Offences can have consequences far greater than the sentence imposed by the judge. A criminal conviction can have consequences for employment, immigration status in Canada, access to children as part of any family law proceedings, crossing the border to the United States and elsewhere, and any number of other consequences. While many people may be tempted to plead guilty ‘to get it over with’ a criminal conviction with all its consequences can last for a long time, perhaps forever. A snap decision may be the wrong decision. As experienced trial counsel, Misha can advise you of the strong or weak parts of the crown’s case. While some cases are strong – and pleading guilty may be a reasonable option – many others are not. Some people are not guilty, and guilty pleas are only for guilty people. Experienced trial counsel can negotiate a better deal or successfully represent you at trial.

Only a careful review of your matter can give you the advice you need to make crucial decisions on your case and your life. A careful review may reveal gaps or problems with the crown’s case. Contact experienced trial counsel before deciding to plead guilty.

First Time Child Sexual Offences Charges

The criminal justice system often recognizes that people make mistakes. Some mistakes are bigger than others. People charged with offences, including Child Sexual Offences, for the first time are usually treated somewhat differently from people with long criminal records. Experienced counsel can assist in obtaining great results for first time charges. This may include diversion before trial or favourable plea agreements. Contact our office to discuss your case and what to expect.

Child Sexual Offences in the Criminal Code of Canada

Section 151 of the Criminal Code Covers this Charge

 Every person who, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years

  • (a)is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

  • (b)is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.