Five Year Long Ordeal Ends in Full Acquittal for Client

Mr. M (18) and the complainant (13) were two teenagers who were exploring their sexual identity.  They met on a public gay chatroom application that required users to confirm that they were 17 years old or older primarily sexual in nature.  Ms. Bristow argued that the complainant lied about his age when Mr. M asked his age/sex/location; rather than admitting he was 13, the complainant said he was 17/male/Canada.  The conversation moved to a private text application called KIK, where they exchanged photographs of their faces, private parts and discussed sexual explicit acts, including a planned meet up to engage in sexual activity.  They in fact met in person and engaged in sexual activity. 

The sole issue at trial was whether Mr. M had an honest but mistaken belief in the complainant’s age and whether he took all reasonable steps to ascertain the complainant’s age.  In other words, if Mr. M believed that the complainant was the age of consent, the defence of consent was available to Mr. M.  Although there was some disagreement at first, through cross-examination, it became clear to the Crown and His Honour that the complainant was a willing participant and consented to all of the sexually explicit conversation and activity. 

Through cross-examination of the Crown witnesses, Mr. Bristow as able to point holes in the Crown’s theory that Mr. M knew the complainant was 13 years old.  She spent hours with Mr. M preparing him to testify with confidence both in direct examination in chief and cross-examination.  Ms. Bristow’s preparations proved to be fruitful as it took the jury less than an hour to come back with an acquittal on all three charges (Sexual Assault, Sexual Interference and Invitation to Sexual Touching). 

Lisa Bristow can be contacted at (416) 598-5741 or Bristow@criminaltriallawyers.ca

 

**Please Note: Past Successes Do Not Ensure Future Success**