Assault is the deliberate use of force over another individual without their consent. This aggression can come in many forms. For example, it could be a threat, a gesture, or an action taken to use offensive force on another person (ie. striking someone).
There are numerous defences against assaults, each based on the case’s specific facts. However, the most critical component of any defence is an experienced assault defence lawyer in Calgary. At Batting, Wyman, our expert team of criminal defence lawyers has the knowledge and courtroom experience to assist with your assault charges.
To count on the self-defence solutions located in section 34 of the Criminal Code, the accused must supply the judge with the following criteria:
- They think on sensible grounds that force was utilized against them or another individual
- The act that constitutes the offence was committed to protecting and defending themselves or another individual from that use or threat of force; and
- The action perpetrated is appropriate given the circumstances surrounding the event.
When assessing if the act executed was appropriate, a judge will look at the list of variables located in the Criminal Code; section 34(2):
- The nature of the force or threat;
- If the application of force was impending;
- The individual’s part in the incident;
- Whether either party used or threatened the use of a weapon;
- The age, size and gender of each party;
- The history, length, and nature of the relationship;
To prove that an assault took place, the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the force used was not consensual. Protection against the assault charge occurs if the use of force is agreed upon by both parties involved. This case is typically encountered in fist fights between two individuals.
Neither party could be charged with assault if both individuals agreed to fight. However, if bodily harm occurred, the case law establishes that consent is not a valid defence as an individual cannot consent to bodily harm in law.
3. Knee-jerk/Reflex Reaction
For all criminal charges, the crown must prove what is known as the actus reus (that the act occurred) as well as the men’s rea (the requisite state of mind). In the context of an assault, the Crown must prove not only that there was a non-consensual application of force, they must also prove that the use of force was intended by the accused.
Knee-jerk reactions are automatic bodily responses to outward origins. To be charged with assault, the alleged perpetrator must execute the bodily act and have performed it deliberately. A reflexive reaction such as a knee-jerk response cannot advance to the level of a criminal transgression because the intention is a required element of assault.
Next Steps: The Assistance of a Criminal Defence Lawyer in Calgary
Depending on the severity of your assault charge, penalties can be anything from a fine or a few hundred dollars to a decade in prison. Regardless, you’ll need the assistance of professionals who can guide you through the process and represent you in the courts. At Batting, Wyman, we house a team of expert criminal defence lawyers who don’t shy away from challenging cases.
Our team is experienced and available to help. So when you’re ready, contact us today for a free consultation.