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Could accusers in sex assault case face criminal charges?

In our last post we mentioned that lawyer Joseph Neuberger had been called upon to provide insight on the recent sexual assault case involving former CDC radio host, Jian Ghomeshi. Among other outlets, he spoke with the National Post regarding the matter.  In a piece titled “What lies ahead of Ghomeshi” he addressed several issues that could be on the minds of readers, regarding Ghomeshi’s accusers.

The first pertains to criminal charges against his accusers. In reaching his decision the judge noted that while it is possible the activities the women accused the man of engaging in did in fact happen, at trial they offered evidence that was “deceptive and manipulative”. That characterization could leave some wondering whether it is possible the complainants themselves could face charges from the Crown. Mr. Neuberger’s take on this was the judge’s criticism of the women’s credibility and reliability did not justify a charge of perjury or mischief.

In addition, taking such an action could have a greater impact against public interest. In the long run it might discourage other alleged victims of sexual assault from coming forward.

Though a criminal defence lawyer, Mr. Neuberger also responded to a question pertaining to whether the accused might face a different type of legal case related to the accusations. It is possible the women could file a lawsuit against the man seeking damages in civil court. Mr. Neuberger noted the women may be more successful in such a case as compared to the criminal trial, since the burden of proof in a civil court is not “beyond a reasonable doubt” but rather “on a balance of probability”—which is lower.

Sexual assault charges should be taken seriously. To try to minimize the impact of such allegations, securing representation from a criminal defence lawyer who understands the magnitude of the case you are facing is vital.

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