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Sexual Offences

Sexual Assault Lawyers

At this challenging time in your life, you need an experienced team of knowledgeable criminal defence lawyers.

Sexual offences cover a wide variety of criminal charges including sexual interference, exploitation and sexual assault with a weapon. If you have been charged with a sexual offence, it is in your best interest to speak immediately with an experienced lawyer at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence. Any statements that you provide during your arrest or questioning may be used by the Crown Prosecutor. Your lawyer will explain how to proceed with any future interactions with police in order to protect your interests. This constantly evolving area of law has been made increasingly complex due to the recent movements such as “Me Too” and “I believe.”

Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence is very experienced in representing clients accused of sexual assault. We have guided numerous clients facing these difficult allegations through the court system.

Crown Prosecutors may be reluctant to negotiate on files involving sexual assault due to the courts very serious view of these cases. Our lawyers understand the impact a sexual assault charge can have on your life. We will develop a detailed defence for your case based on our years of experience and exceptional knowledge in this area.

Our lawyers treat each of our clients with dignity and respect, regardless of the charges laid. We act on your behalf to build a strong defence and ensure that your rights are protected. Our experienced lawyers can deal with other emotional factors that may be involved in your case. Testimony from the Complainant is critical to sexual offence prosecutions. This means it is essential for you to retain a lawyer who is experienced in cross-examination. Our responsibility as your legal team is to develop a vigorous defence on your behalf.


What do I do if I am under investigation or charged with sexual assault?

It is an extremely stressful experience to be accused of sexual assault. Included below is a general outline of the steps to follow if you have been charged.

  1. Phone us immediately if the police call you and ask to speak with you. We will explain what you can expect for the next steps.
  2. Your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart will contact the police on your behalf to determine what you are potentially being charged with and inquire about potential evidence that may be used against you.
  3. We will discuss a strategy for your first potential discussion with the police and schedule the meeting for you. You will be provided a plan for next steps.
  4. Save all texts, social media content, emails, photos and dating app communications with the complainant.
  5. Do not block the complainant.
  6. Do not contact the complainant. For instance, do not send a message of apology as this can be used in the evidence against you.
  7. Write down everything you remember about the interaction.
  8. Do not speak to anyone other than your lawyer about the situation. Statements you make to other parties can also be used in court.

Call Roulston Urquhart immediately to formulate a strategy.

What does consent mean?

For the purposes of sexual offences, consent means the complainant’s voluntary agreement to participate in the act. In Canada, the age of consent to sexual activity is 16. However, a person cannot consent to sexual activity with someone who is in a position of trust or authority over them until they are 18 years old. This includes a person such as a doctor, sports coach, teacher, or family member.

In Canada, you cannot legally give consent to sexual activity if you are underage, if your are asleep or unconscious, if force is used to subdue you, or if you are threatened or misled about the sexual activity.

What are the best defences to a sexual assault charge?

After you are contacted by the police, call our lawyers at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence immediately. We are criminal lawyers that specialize in assisting clients charged with sexual assault. We will advise you on next steps to anticipate any further action required. This may include meeting with the police, only after being thoroughly prepared by our lawyers. It is important that you write down every detail you recall about the alleged interaction. This includes saving all communication with the accuser.

There can be several defences available to you depending on the facts of your case. These include:

  • It can be proven the Complainant did consent to the sexual activity,
  • The accused had an honest but mistaken belief that the complainant was consenting to the sexual activity or was old enough to consent to the sexual activity
  • The alleged sexual activity never occurred

Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence has respresented some of the highest profile and complex sexual assault cases in Calgary, Edmonton and surrounding areas in Alberta. We understand the substantial impact sexual assault allegations have on your life and future. If you have been charged with a sexual assault, you need an experienced sexual assault lawyer in Calgary to protect your rights, vigorously cross examine the complainant and make certain you have the opportunity to tell your side of the story.

Can I be convicted of sexual assault if the sexual activity occurred when we were both drunk?

According to the law, an individual cannot consent to sexual activity if they are unable to control their body or if they are unconscious. The individual must be able to consent to all acts of sexual touching. A person can revoke their consent at any time. However, a person that provided consent at the time cannot revoke their consent after the sexual activity has already happened. The court will consider the intoxication of individuals and their consent on a case-by-case basis. There are potential defences available for a sexual assault charge. It is in your best interest to speak with one of the knowledgeable lawyers at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence as soon as possible.

A past relationship is now accusing me of sexual assault. I honestly believed they had consented. Can I still be charged?

The police may still charge you with sexual assault but that does not automatically mean you will be found guilty. Your lawyer may be able to argue the defence of Honest but Mistaken Belief in consent. This defence arises in situations where the individual being accused can state that they sincerely believed the other party was consenting to the sexual activity.

To be successful in raising the Honest but Mistaken Belief in Consent defence, you must be able to show the court that you took reasonable steps to establish consent and that the complainant communicated consent during the sexual act. The determination for what is considered “reasonable steps” will be evaluated by the court on a case-by-case basis. However this defence is not available if you were in a position of trust or authority, impaired by drugs or alcohol, you were reckless in checking for consent or you intentionally ignored signs indicating the other person was not consenting. The Justice will consider whether a reasonable person in the situation would have acted in the same manner or taken further steps to establish consent. Therefore it is crucial that you document everything you remember about the alleged act. Through meetings with your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart, a strategy will be developed to effectively raise your defence to the court.

The complainant is alleging sexual assault against me regarding one sexual encounter, can I tell the courts about our past relationship in my defence?

Under the Criminal Code, an accused person must submit an application to introduce evidence referencing the complainant’s prior sexual history. An accused person may wish to introduce evidence of prior sexual activity that was consensual to demonstrate to the court why it was believed consent was provided at the time of the allegation. To properly argue this complicated area of law and submit convincing applications to the court, it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer from Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence. Your lawyer will thoroughly review the file and speak with you regarding your previous history with the complainant and file all applications necessary so that your side of the story is heard.

I have HIV/AIDS. Do I have to inform my sexual partner?

Yes. If a person that has HIV/AIDS deliberately withholds this information from their sexual partner, they can face serious criminal charges. This may result in an aggravated sexual assault charge if the court perceives there was a realistic possibility of HIV transmission. You may still be charged, even if the other party does not contract HIV from the sexual activity. This is a rapidly changing area of law. Contact Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence immediately to begin building your case.

I have been charged with a sexual offence and have been finding it very difficult to cope.

The lawyers at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence understand the numerous potential consequences for an individual charged with sexual assault. The stigma associated with a sexual offence can have lasting impacts on your personal and professional life. Your lawyer will ensure that your rights and privacy are protected throughout the court process and work to resolve the matter as efficiently as possible. We recognize the effects on your life during and after these charges. Your lawyer will be fully invested in analyzing the evidence, exploring all options and arguing for the best results possible.

What happens if I am convicted of sexual assault?

Sentencing for sexual offences can result in incarceration or a probationary period. As well, if you are found guilty of a sexual offence you will be entered into the Sexual Offender’s Information Registry (SOIRA).

Factors that will be considered during sentencing include:

  • Nature and extent of the charges
  • Age of the complainant
  • If the accused was in a position of trust or authority
  • Existence of a prior criminal record
  • If there is a minimum sentence associated with the charge

What is the Sexual Offender’s Information Registry (SOIRA)?

SOIRA is the database created by the Canadian Government that requires every person convicted of certain sexual offences to register and disclose personal information to the police. This information will updated every year for ten years, possibly up to your entire lifetime. The amount of time this information is required is dependent on the nature and severity of the offence. Members of the public do not have access to SOIRA. If you have any further questions about the impact of SOIRA, contact Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence Firm.

Relevant Cases

Our past cases prove the practical and effective results in successfully defending and negotiating criminal charges. We will provide you with a step-by-step plan to defend your charges and ideally resolve before trial. Our criminal defence lawyer’s goal is to protect your criminal record and your freedom.


R v Y.N. [Youth – Drumheller Provincial Court]

Offence: Sexual Assault

Result: Peace Bond & No Criminal Record

The young person was charged with sexual assault. Tonii Roulston reviewed the file and entered negotiations with the Crown Prosecutor. Tonii secured a peace bond for her client. The client avoided a jail sentence and does not have a criminal record.

R v J.S. [Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench]

Offence: Sexual Assault

Result: The client was found not guilty

The client was charged with sexually assaulting his roommate. Robin ran the 4-day trial in Lethbridge. After cross examining the complainant, her boyfriend, and the complainant’s friend, the client was found not guilty.

R v K.L. [Okotoks Provincial Court – Youth]

Offence: Sexual Assault

Result: Charges Withdrawn & No Criminal Record

The youth client was charged with sexual assault. Tonii Roulston reviewed the file and set the matter for trial. Tonii Roulston then entered into rigorous negotiations with the Crown and successfully resolved the charges in advance of trial. Upon completion of counselling, the charge of sexual assault was withdrawn. The client avoided a lengthy jail sentence and does not have a criminal record.

R v P.A. [Calgary Provincial Court]

Offence: Sexual Assault

Result: Peace Bond

Our client was charged with an indictable offence of sexual assault, which carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year in prison and a maximum term of 10 years. Tonii Roulston was successful in identifying weaknesses within the Crown’s case. By thoroughly reviewing the evidence and extensively negotiating with the Crown prosecutor, the matter was resolved by way of Peace Bond. Our client was not convicted and was prevented from establishing a criminal record.

R v D.G. [Calgary Provincial Court]

Offence: Sexual Assault

Result: Acquitted & No Criminal Record

Our client was charged with sexual assault and faced numerous years of incarceration if found guilty. Tonii Roulston extensively argued this case by identifying significant inconsistencies within witness testimony. In considering relevant factors in the circumstances surrounded the reported incident, Tonii Roulston raised issues with the credibility of such statements made on the night of the offence in question and in Court, thereafter. The Court confirmed reasonable doubt in the charged offence and acquitted our client.

R v S.P.M. [Calgary Provincial Court]

Offence: Possess Child Pornography, Access Child Pornography and Distribution of Child Pornography

Result: Reduced Jail Sentence and SOIRA Order

The client was charged with numerous offences involving child pornography. The client was facing a three to four-year jail sentence and SOIRA order of 10 years. Tonii Roulston reviewed the file and entered negotiations with the Crown Prosecutor. Tonii Roulston secured a two-year federal sentence for the client and a reduced SOIRA order of 8 years.