Question: I’m Charged – How Long is This Going to Take?

The law recognizes that a person who is charged with a criminal offence is impacted by having outstanding charges hanging over his or her head.  Because of these concerns, the Supreme Court has recently established clear “ceilings” after which any delay in the court proceedings will be presumed to be unreasonable, unless the prosecution can justify the delay. What this means is that your case can be dismissed solely because the trial does not get completed within a certain time.

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Question: Can I Appeal if My Trial Lawyer Was Incompetent?

Can I Appeal if My Trial Lawyer Was Incompetent?

Yes, you can. But it is a not an easy path. Appeals rarely succeed on the basis of incompetence of counsel alone. More will generally be required.  If you’re thinking, “well, I’ll just wait and see if I’m convicted and if I am,  I’ll retain a more expensive, more experienced, and more competent lawyer to do my appeal”, think again.   The time to put your best foot forward is before trial, not afterwards.

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Question: Can I Get a Publication Ban?

No CommentThe short answer is “sometimes”.  But it’s not for the reasons you might think.

As an accused person who the law presumes to be innocent, you would think that the courts would protect you from your reputation being dragged through the mud before your trial and before any finding of guilt is made. You would think that, in fairness, if you are ultimately acquitted of the offences, you should not suffer the damage to your reputation that the spectre of a criminal allegation, especially a sexual allegation, brings.  Unfortunately, the system doesn’t work that way.

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Question: Can the Defence Obtain the Complainant’s Counselling or Psychological Records?

Nurse Treating Teenage Girl Suffering With DepressionNote: Sexual Assault Lawyers require specialized experience, skill and expertise. As you will see, the unique challenges created by this issue is one example of why.

The short answer is “probably not”.  While psychological or counselling records can in many cases be a game changer that reveals key information regarding the origins of the accusations, this important information is often kept from the defence, even if the prosecution has it in their possession.  Here’s how it works.

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Question: If I refuse to provide a statement to the police, doesn’t it make me look guilty?

Just a moment to overthink everything. Side view of handsome young man keeping hands clasped and looking thoughtful while sitting against black backgroundYes and no. Yes, it may make you look guilty to the police. And no, that doesn’t matter.

That’s because when you are exercising your right to remain silent, you are exercising a constitutional right. Because you are exercising a constitutional right, the fact that you choose to remain silent in the face of a criminal allegation is not itself evidence that can be used against you. Even if the police were to think that makes you look guilty, what they think won’t make any difference in court. That’s because what they believe has no evidentiary value and won’t form part of the Crown’s case.

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Question: Should I Agree to Take a Polygraph or Lie Detector Test?

PolygraphIf you are a suspect in a sexual assault investigation, you may be asked if you will agree to take a polygraph or lie detector test. Should you agree?

The short answer is No.

There is a reason why the results of polygraph examination are not admissible in court. That is because they are not considered sufficiently reliable and are seen by many to be junk or pseudoscience. The police, however, like them. But not necessarily for the reason you might think.

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Question: Why Should I Exercise My Right to Remain Silent When Being Interviewed by the Police?

Police officersBased on my almost three decades of experience as a Vancouver Criminal Lawyer and a Sexual Assault Lawyer in Western Canada, there are two principal reasons why you should exercise your right to remain silent when you are being investigated for an allegation of sexual assault, sexual interference, sexual exploitation, invitation to sexual touching, child luring, or possession of child pornography.

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Introduction

At Sanders Criminal Law, I believe in my clients or prospective clients having as many tools as possible to make informed decisions. That is why I emphasize the importance of getting legal advice as soon as you think you may be under investigation, especially for allegations that I defend such as sexual assault, sexual interference, sexual exploitation, invitation to sexual touching, child luring, possession of child pornography.

It is also why it is important that in choosing a criminal defence lawyer who you can easily communicate with, who you are comfortable with and in whom you have confidence to guide you through what can be a complicated and nuanced process.

As a Vancouver criminal lawyer, I also subscribe to the view that as a client, the more you understand about the charges you’re facing and the issues involved, the more you can help me help you.

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