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What role will the passage of time have on sexual assault trial?

Residents of Toronto may be aware of a criminal case that is currently being tried involving a former police officer. The 70-year-old man, who has not worked for the Toronto Metropolitan Police since 1970, was accused of sexually assaulting two—then boys—repeatedly.

Specifically, the former cop is charged with:

  • Two counts of indecent assault
  • One count of gross indecency

The man befriended a family that lived in the area he policed. As a result of that relationship he allegedly took two boys who were a part of that family on camping trips and other sleepovers. The now men, claim that the man engaged in oral and anal sex with them when they were alone. The brothers claim to have never discussed the incidents with each other until recently.

Forty years after those alleged incidents, the former police officer entered a plea of not guilty.

How the fact that 40 years have passed since the alleged incidents took place will affect the outcome of the trial is not clear. Waiting that long to report and prosecute a crime can make it difficult to find witnesses who might be able to support either the crown or the defence. The passage of time can also have an impact on how much those involved are able to remember about what happened.

While it is always scary to face a criminal charge, when someone is blindside by allegations of something that supposedly happened so many years ago it can be even scarier. In either situation a criminal defence lawyer could be of assistance in securing the best possible outcome.