In Ottawa, there is an entire criminal court devoted to prosecuting domestic assault cases. The unfortunate fact is that most of the accused persons who pass through the Ottawa domestic criminal court are men. Thus, it is not unusual for clients to attend at my office, with an initial impression that the system is biased against them and that the Court will inevitably take her word over theirs. While it is very clear that the system is not free from bias, there is still hope. In a classic he said she said case, the accused has one major advantage on their side: the accused need only leave the Court with a reasonable doubt to obtain an acquittal. Reasonable doubt in a he said she said context is a very fact specific concept. The doubt can be obtained through the testimony of the accused: I never hit her. The doubt can be obtained through external inconsistencies emanating from a third party: I saw the whole thing, and he was only defending himself. Or, with a properly prepared lawyer, the reasonable doubt can result from the testimonial discombobulation of the complainants story under cross.
Reasonable doubt stemming from internal inconsistencies that is, the complainants own evidentiary discrepancies is of course the preferred method. If sufficient holes are found in the complainants story, then the elements of fabrication, coercion and unreliability become apparent to the judge. With proper cross-examination, the accused may not even need to testify. Effective cross-examinations of this nature only results from careful, meticulous preparation of your case. To get there, you must work closely with your lawyer to provide them with the necessary ammo to mount a viable attack. While every case is unique, the reality is that many of Ottawa's criminal domestic assault cases are palpably weak so long as you have the right lawyer.