I’ve been charged with Assault. What do I need to know?

2. Understand what the Crown has to prove

In every criminal case, the Crown must prove at least four things:

  1. Identity: you're the person who committed the crime.
  2. Jurisdiction: this is the correct court to deal with your case. For example, if you're charged with something you did when you were under 18, you should be in a youth court.
  3. Date: the crime took place when the police say it did.
  4. Elements of the crime.

The elements of the crime of Simple Assault are:

  • you touched someone on purpose without their permission, or
  • you physically threatened to touch someone without their permission

In addition to the elements of Simple Assault, the Crown must prove these elements for the other types of assault:

  • For Assault with a Weapon:
    • you carried a weapon that the other person could see, or you threatened to use a weapon. The weapon can be any object if you use it as a weapon.
  • For Assault Causing Bodily Harm:
    • injuries that are serious, but not life threatening such as cuts, scrapes, bad bruises, or fractured bones.
  • For Aggravated Assault:
    • permanent or life-threatening injuries such as crippling injuries, big scars, or permanent damage to their body like losing an eye.

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt

The judge can only find you guilty if they are certain about everything the Crown must prove. That means the Crown must prove identity, jurisdiction, date, and every element of the crime.

If the judge is not completely sure about even one of these things, the judge cannot find you guilty. This is known as “proof ”.

It is not enough for the judge to think that you're probably guilty, or that you're likely guilty. They must be certain about everything the Crown must prove.

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