Our client was charged with sexual assault. The main issue at trial was whether the sexual activity between the accused and complainant was consensual.
Our client and the complainant knew each other for a number of years. On one evening, our client and the complainant attended a get-together. Drugs and alcohol were consumed throughout the course of the evening. Our client and the complainant ended the evening in a sexual encounter.
Our client was adamant from the beginning that he truly believed the sexual encounter was consensual. The defence presented to the court was one of “mistaken belief in consent”.
At trial, the main issue in assessing whether the sexual encounter was consensual, or whether our client took reasonable steps to ascertain consent, focused on the credibility of witnesses. At trial, three witnesses were called – the complainant, our client and a mutual friend who was present during the sexual encounter.
After a lengthy trial and arguments, we were able to successfully argue that based on the evidence presented to the court, the Crown did not meet its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a lack of consent to the sexual activity.
Our client was acquitted on all charges.
R v W.H., Court of Queen’s Bench