DOMESTIC ASSAULT

We receive a large number of calls from husbands/wives/boyfriends/girlfriends and common law partners charged with assault on their partners. The way we deal with each case will be different depending on whether the partner wishes to be reconciled and continue their relationship. If they do, it poses special challenges for us depending on the circumstances of each case. The case studies below identifies some of the difficulties and how we deal with them to achieve the best results for the client.

The case of Dilip

Dilip called us in a panic. His wife had accused him of pushing her when they had an argument over finances in the past weekend. The police attended their home and arrested him after speaking with his wife. After he was arrested, he was released at the police station on form 11 and had to reside with his brother as there was a condition that he was not to contact his wife directly or indirectly or attend the matrimonial home.

His brother told Dilip that his wife was sorry for what happened and that it was all a misunderstanding. She wanted him home to be with her and their 2 young kids who missed him. Dilip wanted to be able to go back home. Dilip would have paid all of his hard earned savings towards retaining a lawyer if the lawyer could quickly fix the problem and enable him to be with his wife.

At NLC Lawyers we will not compromise our reputation by offering a quick fix to solve this problem. It cannot be done as we know the crown will not vary conditions of bail in domestic assault disputes so quickly. We told Dilip that we had to first get the disclosure and then work on the case to achieve a workable resolution which would allow Dilip to go back to his wife. Typically in the domestic assault cases, it takes a minimum of 6-8 weeks from the date of the first court appearance for us to have the tools to secure a resolution.

Dilip was fortunate in that the disclosure (the police and witness statements etc that the crown would rely upon to prove their case) failed to disclose sufficient evidence that would enable the crown to have a reasonable prospect of convicting our client. His wife did not make a KGB video statement under oath to the police. When she made the allegations against Dilip at the time police attended, she did not sign the officer's notes. The crown had little to work on in proving the charge.

When we had a resolution meeting with the crown we pointed out the deficiencies in their evidence and they were compelled to withdraw the charges so that Dilip was able to go back home to his wife. In other cases, where the crown's evidence is weak, the crown would offer a peace bond with conditions allowing the client to go back home. In other cases, where the evidence is stronger, we can obtain a variation of bail so the client can go back home with his/her family while completing a PARS program (Partner Abuse Counselling) and at the end of the program we have been able to secure a conditional discharge for the client. Such a disposal would not affect the client in his/her employment or application for employment as after the period of the discharge he/she does not need to disclose the conviction to an employer as he/she is treated as discharged.

In some cases we will strengthen the defence case and our bargaining position when trying to resolve the matter with the crown by examining the feasibility of an affidavit from the complainant through the drafting of such a document from their own lawyer, setting out points of misunderstandings or incorrect interpretation of events or the clarification of the complainant's statement in a KGB video statement. A complainant's perception that the partner was acting in self-defence may be lost during the incident but may become clearer when the situation has calmed down.

The case of Mary

Mary was in the midst of a marriage breakdown. Her husband, Peter, had formed another relationship, and it was clear that he was intent on driving Mary away from their matrimonial home so that he would be in a better position to get custody of their 2 young kids and secure possession of the property. One evening the opportunity presented itself when while arguing Mary screamed at him and in a rage threw some dishes against the wall. The police took pictures of the broken dishes. Peter immediately called the police and told them that Mary had assaulted him by throwing a set of dishes directly at him, which he managed to avoid. When the police arrived they saw a pile of broken china by the wall of the living room and immediately arrested Mary. She was released on form 11 at the police station with conditions of no contact with Peter and not to attend their home. Mary had to live with her aunt.

Peter made a full KGB video statement on oath consistent with the allegations he made against Mary. Mary did not want any form of reconciliation with Peter and filed for divorce, custody of the kids, a claim for spousal/child support and division of the matrimonial property. In the family proceedings, Peter persisted in his false allegations of assault against Mary, citing other fabricated incidences of violence by Mary.

NLC worked closely with Mary's family lawyer in extracting potential evidence of Peter's motive in making these serious allegations against Mary. Fortunately, we were able to obtain a witness statement from one of Peter's friend, James, who recently fell out with Peter. James said Peter told him of his plans to get Mary out of the matrimonial home by making false allegations of assault against her to the police. We also obtained a reconstruction expert who examined the broken dishes in their proximity to the wall, and it was clear that the dishes were aimed directly at the wall at a height of some 9 feet consistent with Mary's version of events and contrary to the way Peter described the dishes being thrown in his KGB statement.

At trial serious doubt was cast on the credibility of Peter during vigorous cross-examination, and the judge preferred Mary's evidence and that of the reconstruction expert to Peter's evidence. Mary was acquitted.

Peter fared badly in the family case as well, and her family lawyer was able to secure Mary all that she wanted to rebuild her broken life. NLC always strives to gather the best evidence possible to make vigorous full answer and
NLC always strives to gather the best evidence possible to make vigorous full answer and defence in defending their clients.
Trust Raj Napal and NLC Lawyers to use their best endeavours to achieve a result for you.