Robichaud’s criminal defence law firm has extensive experience in defending sexual assault, sexual interference, and sexual related offences throughout Ontario. Lead Counsel of the firm, Sean Robichaud is a Certified Specialist in criminal law who has focused even further in the area of sexual offences. As of late, this focus is amplified further by the uptick in complaints arising out of the #MeToo movement and many high profile sexual assault cases such as Jian Ghomeshi, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and countless others.
Our law firm has a very comprehensive understanding of these recent trends in sexual assault allegations, police investigations in sexual criminal charges, and the law in sexual assault. Our sexual assault lawyers are well equipped and knowledgable in how to properly defend sexual related cases.
In an age where trendy hashtags of #MeToo and #BelieveHer dominate media, and the presumption of innocence is under relentless attacks, you need lawyers in your corner who are willing to stand up and protect you in the face of any odds or controversy; we are those lawyers.
It is very easy to say that one is experienced, but until a lawyer or firm has a proven experience of delivering verdict of “not guilty” or withdraws of sexual offences, those words are empty. Below you find some some of the past cases our lawyers and firm has been responsible for: (expend each case by the [+] button)
Charges: Trial on charges of sexual assault, and sexual interference. Allegations: A friend of family was alleged to have touched a young person while staying the evening after a party in the residence. Implausibilities in complainant’s evidence demonstrated to jury. Client testifies in his defence asserting his innocence.
Result: Client is found not guilty of all charges after a contested jury trial.
Allegations: Woman is assaulted, intimidated, and kidnapped in lieu of a debt owed by her boyfriend. When she is taken back to to a residence is Mississauga, she is sexually assaulted, tortured, confined in a closet overnight, and sexually assaulted the following day with forced fellatio and intercourse. During the course of the sexual assault, she is threatened to be forced into prostitution. Woman is released from the premises and attends hospital with injuries. Hospital then reports the incident to police who then obtain evidence that included, but not limited to: DNA, photographs, corroborating physical evidence (shoelaces, descriptions of residence, etc.). Canada wide warrants are executed and four individuals arrested including “A.R.” During the course of the proceedings, it was alleged that Mr. A.R. (represented by Sean Robichaud) is alleged to have been present during the entire first day/night but not to have engaged in any of the threats, sexual assaults, or kidnapping but charged and ordered to stand trial regardless. Complainant agrees with his passive role in cross-examination.
Result: A.R. is found NOT GUILTY on all counts and dismissed unconditionally at trial. The remaining accused parties are found guilty on all counts with the exception of two.
Results: Jury acquitted Mr. D.B. of all charges.
Results: Crown Attorney withdrew all charges stating it was not in the interests of justice to proceed with the allegations.
Results: Jury acquitted Mr. L.H. of all charges.
Result: Not guilty on all charges after a contested trial involving child witness testimony.
On the day of the trial, all charges against Mr. X were withdrawn at the request of the Crown.
Result: All charges withdrawn.
Result: After cross-examination at the preliminary hearing, several problems were discovered with the complainant’s version of events. The charges were stayed as a result.
Results: All charges withdrawn by the Crown Attorney at the preliminary hearing stage.
Results: Jury Acquits accused on all counts.
Results: Jury acquitted Mr. M.
Results: Charges Dismissed.
DISCLAIMER: Every criminal case is unique and every case has it’s own challenges. Past acquittals, withdrawals, or other favourable results our lawyers have achieved for our clients in allegations of sexual assault or sexual interference does not mean the same result can be obtained for present or future clients. We look at each case with it’s own unique characteristics and fashion our approach on the individual, not the crime itself.
Sean Robichaud is routinely asked to comment by national and local news on criminal law matters. Read various commentary on sexual related offences and perspectives:
If found guilty, Mr. Ghomeshi could face severe consequences. Under section 246 (a) of the Criminal Code of Canada choking someone with the intent to commit a crime, including sexual assault, carries a maximum punishment of life in prison.“This would be true even if the sexual act, in that instance, did not take place,”
Toronto defence lawyer Sean Robichaud wrote in an email. “What is important under this particular section is the choking and the reasons for doing it, regardless of whether the act actually took place.”
Section 246 of the Canadian Criminal Code is for “Overcoming resistance to commission of offence,” which says that it is a crime “to enable or assist himself or another person to commit an indictable offence” by “attempts, by any means, to choke, suffocate or strangle another person” and make them “unconscious or incapable of resistance.”
“Essentially, it’s an offence to choke someone with an intention to assist themselves in committing an indictable offence,” lawyer Sean Robichaud told the Post in an email.
“Therefore, it seems that it’s alleged that Mr. Ghomeshi either did, or attempt to choke someone for the purpose of overcoming consent to a sexual act or acts.”
“Today’s letters: Once accused of a sex crime, most people never recover:”
Re: Acquitted By The Courts, Convicted By Google, Jonathan Kay, Nov. 13.
I practise exclusively in criminal defence law and of that, I would say about 40% of my cases are sexual in nature. All too often people’s reputations are destroyed on the drop of a press release, with no regard for correcting that once an individual is acquitted. A very large majority of my cases have resulted in withdrawals or acquittals, but none of those individuals have ever been able to restore their lives to what it was before.
What is more troubling is that this attitude is reinforced by the system itself. Every police force I have dealt with refuses to destroy a person’s record and fingerprints, even after an acquittal. To make matters worse, they will then go on to disclose that information to anyone who requests a certain type of police check (i.e. a “vulnerable persons’ screening,” used before hiring gym coaches or paramedics). The police will argue that they will indicate the charge was “withdrawn” or “acquitted.”
However, an employer will undoubtedly ask why the police would even disclose such information unless it had merit or there was something more to it. Any way you look at it, being charged with a sexual assault will ruin your life, unless you run your own business doing roofing or fixing small motors.
It is a very unsympathetic and unfair world for those who have been wrongfully accused and I don’t see the courts stepping in anytime soon to do anything about.
I am in the process of bringing such a case through the system right now and I can only hope that my client does not run out of money in funding this huge undertaking in challenging police policies of this nature, and that the Court of Appeal will ultimately say that these practices infringe an individual’s rights on several levels.
Anyway, great column. And my advice to anyone is to keep the door of your office open, and never coach children’s sports or babysit.
Sean Robichaud, Toronto.
“If you conflate the notion of incivility with uncompromising and effective defence strategies – then you can easily invalidate and change the range of permissible advocacy. And what’s the point of that?” he says.
To Robichaud, some of the greatest accomplishments in the struggle for human rights have been marred by disruption of far greater sins than incivility.
If anything he says, civility is simply a desired, but not necessary means to achieve justice.
“Civility should not and can not usurp the very goal of the advocate to pursue what is right, what is just.”
Our lawyers’ articles and posts on the law of sexual assault in Canada.
Sexual assault trials in Canada: assumptions and misinformation clarified. Recent events surrounding Jian Ghomeshi has instigated a national outcry relating to the protection of sexual assault victims and the difficulties they face when struggling with the [...]
Fewer shades than one might think: the law of consent in sexual activity and "BDSM" in Canada. Societies acceptance of alternative sexual practices is constantly evolving. Sexual preferences that may have once been deemed [...]
It's improper to ask an accused to comment on why a victim would lie, the case of R. v. R.H. Yesterday the Court of Appeal of Ontario released the judgment R. v. R.H. which reversed [...]
Similar Fact Evidence and the case of R. v. J.W. by the Ontario Court of Appeal. On February 14, 2013 the Court of Appeal for Ontario released the judgment of R. v. J.W. (2013 ONCA [...]
It doesn't matter if you are found "not guilty," being charged with a sexual assault may ruin your life regardless. Here is a letter that I wrote commenting on the post by Jonathan Jay entitled [...]