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The Queen v. Julia J. (Vaughan)

The Charges: Domestic Assault

The Result: Not Guilty- Charges withdrawn by the Crown.

The Facts: Julia had been married to her husband Mark for eight years; they had two young children. Mark had an affair and ended the marriage. They fought over custody of the children. One day Mark brought his girlfriend with him when he picked up the children; Julia got upset about this and told him she would tell the judge in family court. That night, police showed up at her door because Mark reported to them that she had assaulted him in front of his girlfriend. The police arrested and handcuffed her in front of the children, and took the children away to give them to Mark.

The Defence Strategy: The trouble with Mark’s complaint to the police was that he was a police officer. The officers who “investigated” Julia were Mark’s own colleagues, police officers from the same division. We immediately approached the Crown Attorney’s Office to decry this completely inappropriate conduct by the police. We intervened with the Children’s Aid Society, and brought an application to have the charges thrown out under the Charter of Rights for abuse of process. We had a private investigator interview Mark’s girlfriend, who had a guilty conscience about what had happened to Julia and changed her story. We also assembled a package of material including reference letters and an assessment report that showed that Julia was an exemplary person and an excellent mother, and that the complaint was motivated by a desire to gain an unfair advantage in the custody dispute.

The Result: Following in-depth discussions and negotiations between the defence, the Crown’s office and the Court, the Crown agreed to withdraw the charges against Julia. Julia also got her children back.

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