Canadian Criminal Law/Offences/Sexual Assault
|s. 271 of the Crim. Code|
|Election / Plea|
|Jurisdiction||Prov. Court |
SC Judge + PI (I)
SC Jury + PI (I) (536(2))
|Avail. Disp.||Discharge (730)*|
Conditional Sentence (742.1)*
|Maximum||18 months jail or $5,000 fine|
|Maximum||10 years jail|
|DNA primary designated offence|
DO/LTO primary designated offence
|Offence Elements |
271. Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of
- (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or
- (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 18 months and, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 271; R.S., 1985, c. 19 (3rd Supp.), s. 10; 1994, c. 44, s. 19; 2012, c. 1, s. 25.
Proof of Offence
- identity of accused
- date and time of incident
- jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
- the accused assaulted the victim (e.g. non-consentual touching)
- the sexual nature of the contact;
- the absence of consent;
- the age of the complainant;
- the age of the accused;
- the relationship between the complainant and accused;
- medical evidence (if any)
A sexual assault is an assault (as defined in s. 265) in which the complainant's sexual integrity in violated.
It is an assault whose essence requires touching at the least.
The accused does not need to have a sexual purpose in the assault. Disciplining or humiliating a person in a sexual manner is a sexual assault.
The mens rea of sexual assault is "intention to touch and knowing of, or being reckless of or wilfully blind to, a lack of consent on the part of the person touched." 
Typical Motions or Orders
- Exclusion of public from court (486)
- Prohibition of self-represented accused from Cross-examining a witness under the age of 18 years (486.3)
- Sexual Offence Publication Ban (486.4)
- Publication Ban of in relation to victims, witnesses or justice system participants (486.5)
- Witness Screen (486.2)
- Testimony by Video (714.1)
On August 9, 2012, s. 271 was amended to add a mandatory minimum of 90 days on summary conviction and 1 year on indictable election where the complainant is under the age of 16.
- R v Ewanchuk, 1999 CanLII 711 at para. 42