Sexual interference and sexual touching are both serious criminal offences under Canadian law. It is imperative for individuals facing charges of sexual interference or sexual touching to understand their rights, as being convicted of a sex crime can limit an individual’s ability to find housing and employment.
What is Sexual Interference and Invitation to Sexual Touching?
Sexual interference is sexual assault where the victim is younger than sixteen years of age, as the age of consent in Canada is sixteen. Sexual interference is defined in Section 151 of the Criminal Code of Canada as follows: “Every person who, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of sixteen years.”
Invitation to sexual touching is a separate offence from sexual interference. Invitation to sexual touching is defined in Section 152 of the Criminal Code of Canada as follows: “Every person who, for a sexual purpose, invites, counsels or incites a person under the age of 16 years to touch, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, the body of any person, including the body of the person who so invites, counsels or incites and the body of the person under the age of 16 years, (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.”
Punishment for Sexual Interference and Invitation to Sexual Touching in Canada
Those convicted of sexual interference may face the following punishments:
- Automatic placement on the sex offender registry
- A minimum one-year term of imprisonment and a maximum fourteen-year term of imprisonment if the Crown charges sexual interference as an indictable offence
- A minimum 90-day term of imprisonment and a maximum two-year term of imprisonment if the Crown charges sexual interference as a summary conviction offence
Individuals convicted of sexual interference will have a criminal record, and being convicted of a sex crime will affect an individual’s ability to obtain housing and employment. Travel restrictions may also apply to those convicted of sexual interference.
Sexual touching is a separate offence. The following penalties apply to individuals convicted of invitation to sexual touching:
- Registration as a sex offender
- Being prohibited from going to specific locations such as parks and schools where children may be present
- A permanent criminal record that is not eligible for pardon
- Mandatory minimum prison sentences
- A minimum one-year term of imprisonment and a maximum fourteen-year term of imprisonment if the Crown charges invitation to sexual touching as an indictable offence
- A minimum 90-day term of imprisonment and a maximum two-year term of imprisonment if the Crown charges invitation to sexual touching as a summary conviction offence
Defences Against Sexual Interference Charges
The Crown must prove that the touching was for a sexual purpose and was intentional. A skilled and knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer will closely scrutinize the statement made by the complainant. The facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged sexual interference are also relevant to a strong defence. A criminal defence lawyer will examine the complainant’s motives. Any inconsistencies and problems in the complainant’s statement will be relevant to a defence lawyer’s strategy.
Mistaken Belief That the Complainant Was 16 or Older
An individual being accused of sexual interference may have believed the complainant was sixteen years of age or older. This defence may be effective if the complainant told the alleged offender that they were older than sixteen years of age, looked older than sixteen years of age, and showed identification stating they were sixteen years of age or older.
There Was Less Than a 5-Year Age Difference
A skilled criminal defence lawyer may suggest that the complainant did not know the exact date of the alleged offence. It may be possible to prove that the parties were less than five years apart in age. A knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer will work with all the evidence available to them.
No Sexual Activity Occurred
It is possible that the complainant is attempting to make false criminal accusations to disrupt the accused’s life. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will know how to examine all the evidence to see if the complainant had any motive to cause the accused stress and anxiety by making a false complaint. A defence team may look into the past relationship between the complainant and the accused.
The Touching Was Accidental
A complainant may have only been incidentally touched by the accused during the course of everyday life. A skilled criminal defence lawyer may be able to establish that the accused did not have the requisite intent to commit a sexual offence.
There Was Contact, but it Was Not Sexual
The Crown must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused individual committed every element of the criminal offence. There must have been sexual contact between the complainant and the accused – it may be that the touching was not intended in a sexual manner. The complainant may also be alleging that the accused touched them sexually, but in fact, the accused did not touch the complainant in a sexual manner.
Contact a Toronto Criminal Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
Sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching are both serious offences in Canada. If you are facing allegations from the Crown, it is important to seek out the assistance of a skilled criminal defence lawyer.
Call Vilkhov Law at (647) 977-5852 to schedule a free consultation. We have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases. Contact our team at Vilkhov Law today to learn more about the legal services we offer.