Just as with an allegation of domestic violence, you can be charged with sexual assault and arrested merely based on the words of your accuser (hereinafter referred to as the complainant: the person who made the complaint to the police). There does not need to be any corroborating evidence to support the complainant’s accusations for the charge to be laid. Indeed, many matters are prosecuted through to trial without the existence of any evidence other than the complainant’s word. You should not expect the police or the Crown to drop the charges, or to agree to you being released on bail, just because complainant’s claims seem preposterous or unsupportable.
Sexual assault is any form of assault which is committed in circumstances of a sexual nature, such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. It does not need to be proven that you intended the contact to be sexual in order to be found guilty of sexual assault. It is the circumstances of the physical contact itself which determines whether it was sexual or not.
There are many issues to address in preparing your defence against allegations of sexual assault, such as the consent of the complainant to sexual contact, the intoxication of the parties, the circumstances of the relationship between yourself and the complainant, the use that may be made of physical or scientifically analyzed evidence like DNA, obtaining medical and psychiatric records, inconsistent statements made by the complainant, and the motives that the complainant may have had to fabricate the allegations.
Much is at stake when facing a charge of sexual assault. Terms of imprisonment can be very significant, depending on the circumstances of the charged offence. Aside from the sentence, the scar of a sexual assault on your criminal record will exclude you from a vast range of employment opportunities, as well as many volunteer opportunities and other forms of civic engagement. The entry of your name of the sex offender registry is yet another serious consequence