Domestic assaults are among the most common allegations that come before the Courts. Crown policies mandate a serious and aggressive approach to spousal abuse, or “domestic assault” allegations. A “domestic relationship” can mean conflicts between people in a girlfriend and boyfriend relationship, a wife or husband, common-law partners, same-sex partnership, children, parents, and even relatives.
Once the Crown considers the case to be of “domestic” nature, the degree of seriousness and zeal that the Crown will approach the case will be heightened. This can mean a greater difficulty in obtaining bail, an inability to return home, and many other conditions of release that are often reserved for the most serious of offenders.
It is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible as there are many issues and events that can arise right from the beginning that you don’t want to overlook. A criminal defence lawyer can explain the process, appear on your behalf, and attempt to have your bail varied so that the accused can return to the household as quickly as possible. In some circumstances, an experienced lawyer can also assist in restoring the family or domestic unit to its original state prior to the charges or accusations.
A common misconception in domestic charges is that the “victim” (often referred to as the “complainant”) decides whether to proceed with the charges. This is false: it is the Crown and police who decide whether the charges will continue or not. The Crown will not withdraw the case simply because it is against the wishes of the “victim”. The Crown is often of the view that there is a public concern in prosecuting the case that expands beyond the particular instance of your case.
The best way to approach the situation, understand your rights and formulate a winning defence is to speak to a lawyer who has knowledge and experience in the areas that most affect you.