Client was charged with sexual assault, uttering threats and assault of a domestic partner. The matter proceeded to trial. There was significant delay in the matter that was attributed by the Crown Counsel failing to provide disclosure material to counsel in a timely matter; additionally, there was a lack of court time and the trial did not complete during the time scheduled. Cathryn prepared an Application to seek to have all charges judicially stayed against client because the client’s right to be tried in a reasonable time was violated.
Sexual Assault Cases
Client Charged with Sexual Assault of Child
Accused client arrested and charged with sexual assault of the daughter of a long-term girlfriend. Accused in on-again off-again relationship with mother of daughter.
Client Charged with Sexual Assault During a “Tinder Date”
Client met complainant on the dating app “Tinder”. Client charged with sexually assaulting the complainant during one of their dates. Client had sent damaging apologetic text messages to the complainant the evening and morning after the alleged assault; those text messages were admitted at trial. There was also a documented injury and blood evidence tendered by the prosecution. At trial, Ms. Forhan cross examined the complainant extensively and successfully revealed to the Court that she was not a credible witness. During cross examination the complainant’s version of events was challenged and her evidence changed on material points.
Sexual Assault of Girlfriend (Too Intoxicated to Consent)
Client was accused of having sex with his girlfriend when she was too intoxicated to consent. Client disputed the allegation and said she was engaged and consenting during the sexual act, and that he ceased sexual activity when it became apparent that she was tired. Ms. Forhan elected a Supreme Court trial with a Preliminary Inquiry and conducted a 1-day prelim where she cross examined the complainant extensively. During her cross examination, the complainant admitted that she may have had a “memory black out” rather than being unconscious during the sexual activity.
Sexual Assault After Work Party
Client was out on a date with a co-worker following a work party. The two went back to a hotel room where the complainant performed oral sex on the client. Complainant alleged that the client pressured her into engaging in sexual acts beyond what she was comfortable with, to the point she did not in fact consent. At trial, the complainant was cross examined extensively. Ms. Forhan revealed inconsistencies in her evidence, particularly as to why she returned voluntarily to the bed to continue performing the consensual acts after receiving a phone call during the alleged assault. Case law confirming that victims of sexual assault are not expected to act in any certain way was presented by the prosecution, however Ms. Forhan successfully argued that her actions raised a reasonable doubt.
Sexual Assault of Girlfriend (Youth)
Client, who was a youth at the time, was accused of sexually assaulting his then girlfriend on three separate occasions. The client maintained that all sexual contact was consensual and was confused by the allegations. Ms. Forhan not only reviewed the police disclosure, but also obtained hundreds of electronic communications between the client and complainant privately. These communications provided the basis for an “honest but mistaken belief in consent” defence. In December 2019 legislative changes to the Criminal Code made those text messages presumptively inadmissible evidence. Ms. Forhan drafted a legal argument and successfully convinced the prosecutor that she could get them admitted into evidence by making a s. 278 and s. 276 application at trial. Prosecutor agreed to drop the charges and allow the client to enter into a Peace Bond.
Sexual Assault Caught on Video Results in No Criminal Record or Deportation
The accused was caught on videotape groping the victim in a bar while she was lying unconscious on a couch in a back room. The groping was prolonged and included touching her under clothing. The accused was significantly older than the victim and also highly intoxicated at the time of the offence. The accused was a Permanent Resident of Canada and therefore faced deportation if convicted. He was arrested by police and brought into custody. Meghan Forhan was retained and had the client released on bail the same day. Crown Counsel argued for a jail sentence which would have resulted in a deportation order and removal from Canada. Crown Counsel also argued to have the accused put on the Sex Offender Registry. Meghan Forhan argued for the accused to receive a Conditional Discharge
Sexsomnia Diagnosis Means No Criminal Record For Client Accused of Sexual Assault
The client was accused of sexually assaulting a victim while he was asleep in bed next to her at a party. The client had no recollection of the acts he was alleged to have committed. The accused had been drinking heavily that evening, but he also suffered from a sleep disorder known as Sexsomnia. Sexsomnia is similar to sleep walking, but rather than walking, persons who suffer from this type of parasomnia engage in sexual acts while asleep, unbeknownst to them.
Solicitation of A Minor [Sting Operation] Results in No Jail Time or SOIRA
Operation Steadfast was a large-scale, covert, undercover police operation set up to catch persons who engaged in solicitation of sexual services from females under the age of 18. The operation focused on catching the “Johns” using online platforms to purchase sexual services from underage girls. The client made an online arrangement to purchase sexual services from someone he initially believed to be 19 years of age; this person was an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute online. During recorded text message conversations, the undercover officer advised our client she was not 19, but actually 16 years of age. The client still agreed to meet her. When he arrived at the hotel a takedown occurred and he was arrested. His cell phone was seized and searched. The client also gave a full confession after being afforded his right to speak with legal counsel [who was not Ms. Forhan at that time].
Client Appealing Sexual Assault Conviction
Client was charged with the sexual assault of his ex-wife following their divorce. The client was represented by a different lawyer at his trial. Client was convicted at trial of sexual assault. Meghan Forhan filed a Conviction Appeal arguing that the client’s alibi defence was not properly considered, and that his electronic evidence was unlawfully excluded by the trial judge. After winning the Conviction Appeal, Meghan Forhan persuaded the new trial Crown to drop the charges rather than proceed with the second trial.
Client Charged with Child Luring using the Snap Chat App & Other Sexual Offences Against a Minor
Client was charged with multiple counts of Child Luring, Sexual Assault of a Minor and Sexual Interference after he commenced a sexual relationship with a 15 year old girl over the app Snap Chat. The Crown had a very strong case and there were legislated mandatory minimum jail sentences attached to several of the counts. Meghan Forhan successfully negotiated a plea deal with the Crown Prosecutor for a Conditional Sentence Order [house arrest] and a stay of proceedings on 10 out of the 11 charges against her client.
Client Under Investigation for Sexual Assault of Step-Daughter
Client was under investigation by police for sexually abusing his step-daughter after she disclosed inappropriate touching to her daycare worker. Client was contacted by police and asked to come in to make a statement and give a polygraph. Client properly contacted legal counsel before agreeing to do so. Meghan Forhan immediately called the lead investigator and advised her client would not participate in a public polygraph or provide a warned statement. After Meghan Forhan came on the case, the officer admitted they could not meet the legal standard necessary to forward charges to Crown Counsel without further evidence from the Client. Client maintained his innocence throughout the investigation.