Voyeurism is often regarded as a trivial matter, with some people even viewing it as a harmless act. Surprisingly, some people don’t even perceive peeking glimpses at people in an indecent way as an offence. However, the consequences of voyeurism can be severe and life-changing, particularly for those who are charged and convicted of this criminal offence.
In all honesty, the reasons behind such ignorance are not hard to comprehend. Voyeurism is a relatively new criminal offence in Canadian law, having been added to the Criminal Code of Canada in 2005. Covered in Section 162(1), this offence involves observing or recording a person who is in a place where they can reasonably expect privacy without their knowledge or consent.
If you or someone you know is facing voyeurism charges in Alberta, it is essential to seek legal representation from an experienced sexual assault defence lawyer. A skilled criminal defence lawyer can help you understand the charges against you, develop a strong defence strategy, and work to protect your legal rights throughout the legal process.
While voyeurism may be a somewhat new offence in Canadian law, it is one that carries severe consequences for those charged and convicted. A conviction for voyeurism can result in imprisonment and a criminal record, affecting a person’s future employment opportunities, personal relationships, and even freedom.
The Law On Voyeurism In Alberta
The offence of voyeurism is defined under section 162 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which prohibits observing or recording a person who is in a place where they can reasonably expect privacy (R v Jarvis, 2019 SCC 10) without their knowledge or consent. This includes visual, aural, or a combination of both forms of observation. The law also prohibits possessing, making, or distributing voyeuristic recordings, even if the recording was not taken by the accused.
In Alberta, the penalties for voyeurism can be severe. A conviction for voyeurism can result in imprisonment for up to five years or any term deemed fair on a summary conviction. Additionally, a conviction for voyeurism can result in a criminal record, which can have long-lasting consequences on a person’s life, including difficulty finding employment, housing, or travelling.
Onus Of Proof Is On The Crown
The onus of proof in a criminal case is on the Crown to prove both the actus reus (the guilty act) and mens rea (the guilty mind) of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the case of voyeurism, the actus reus involves:
- Observing or recording a person in a place where they can reasonably expect privacy.
The mens rea involves the intention to observe or record a person for a sexual purpose or knowing or being reckless about whether the person would object to the observation or recording.
Ultimately, the onus of proof lies with the Crown, and it is their responsibility to prove the accused’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Only an experienced and skilled sexual assault defence lawyer can help you challenge the Crown’s evidence or negotiate a plea bargain to reduce the charges or sentence.
Defending Voyeurism Charges In Edmonton
If you are facing voyeurism charges in Edmonton, it is essential to understand that you have the right to defend yourself against these allegations. Some possible defences that your chosen criminal defence lawyer may decide to utilize include:
Lack Of Intent (Mens Rea)
The mens rea of voyeurism requires an intention to observe or record the person for a sexual purpose or recklessness as to whether the person would object. If it can be shown that the accused lacked this intention, this could be a successful defence.
If the person being observed or recorded consented, this could be used as a defence against voyeurism. However, it is important to note that the person must have given their consent knowingly and voluntarily, and they must have had the capacity to give consent.
Lack Of Privacy Expectation (Actus Reus)
If the person being observed or recorded did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, this could be a defence. For example, if the person was in a public place where they could be observed by anyone, they may not have had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Evidence Of fabrication Or Mistake
In some cases, an accused person may be falsely accused of voyeurism or may have been mistaken for someone else. If evidence can be presented to show that the accusations are unfounded, this could be a defence.
It is important to note that the defence strategy used will depend on the case’s specific circumstances. A skilled criminal defence lawyer can assess the evidence and advise on the best course of action. With the right voyeurism or sexual assault defence strategy, it may be possible to have voyeurism charges dropped or reduced or to secure an acquittal at trial.
About Slaferek Law
Whether you are facing a minor assault charge or an intimidating sexual assault charge in Edmonton, our skilled and seasoned criminal defence lawyers have what it takes to draft a flawless defence strategy and help you navigate the judicial system. Learn more about Slaferek Law.
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