Domestic Assault in the Greater Toronto Area

I have been practicing criminal law in the Greater Toronto community (Brampton, Newmarket) for over 30 years. The crime of domestic assault is not new, but recently the infamous Ray Rice and Oscar Pistorius cases have generated a more profound interest in the subject. Intimate relationships between partners can explode into threatening and assaultive behaviour. Voices are raised. Concerned neighbours call the police to prevent violence or a perpetuation of the violence. The police arrive, assess the situation, and ordinarily arrest the male combatant. Women are also charged with domestic assault, but less often. Historically, police have learned that minor altercations can precipitate fatal confrontations between partners- so-called crimes of passion. No police officer wants to exercise discretion at the scene of a minor confrontation, only to learn that upon his departure that confrontation escalated into a homicide. Thirty years ago in bail courts throughout Ontario, there were always a…

12 Sep 2014