The classic definition in criminal law specifies that for an offence of assault to be established the court must find beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That the accused applied force directly or indirectly to the complainant  AND
  • That the accused intended to apply force  AND
  • That the complainant did not consent to the application of force by the accused

If the court is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of each of these factors, the accused will be found not guilty.

The definition of Assault in the Criminal Code has been expanded by Parliament to include acts that typically precede the application of force and could otherwise be viewed as Uttering Threats. The expanded definition of assault includes an attempt or threat by act or gesture to apply force. The lawyers at Mickelson & Whysall can assist you with understanding whether the circumstances of your case amount to an assault.

Words without a gesture will not constitute an assault. However, if proven that the complainant reasonably believed that the accused had the ability to follow through on the gesture, that constitutes an assault. For example, a person who raises their hand at another and says “I’m going to smack you” will have committed an assault only if the complainant believed on reasonable grounds that the accused had the ability to follow through. An assault has also been committed when an accused either accosts or impedes a person while openly wearing a weapon or imitation weapon. The lawyers at Mickelson & Whysall will help you find the best defence for your case.

The basic definition of assault applies to the subcategories of assault including Sexual Assault, Assault with a Weapon, Assault Causing Bodily Harm, and Aggravated Sexual Assault. The lawyers at Mickelson & Whysall can assist you on these more serious versions of assault.

On a conviction for assault prosecuted by indictment, the maximum penalty is five years imprisonment. When prosecuted summarily, the maximum punishment for assault is six months imprisonment and a fine of five thousand dollars. The lawyers at Mickelson & Whysall can explain to you whether you are being prosecuted summarily or by indictment and assist you with understanding the jeopardy you face.

For further information or for a free initial consultation, please contact our Vancouver law office.

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