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THE GHOMESHI TRIAL: WHEN IS AN ASSAULT SEXUAL?

The allegations against Ghomeshi involved hair pulling, punching and choking. There were no allegations of touching of primary or secondary organs or penetration in any sense. So why was he charged with sexual assault? Because they were on a “date” or kissed. The definition is vague and broad. The sexual aspect is established if, objectively viewed, the assault is committed in circumstances of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of the person is violated. The circumstances include the part of the body touched, the nature of the contact, the situation in which it occurred, the words and gestures accompanying the act. The intent, purpose or motive of the person committing the act including sexual gratification will be relevant.

See the link below to the case of R. v. Chase decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1987 for the definition.

Source: CanLII – 1987 CanLII 23 (SCC)

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