A Day At the Dog Park Gone Wrong 

Mr. M and his friend went to the park with his dog. While at the dog park, Mr. M’s dog got into an altercation with another dog. This resulted in the dog’s owner aggressively confronting him. Mr. M was nose-to-nose with the other owner, and a physical fight ensued, with Mr. M being taken to the ground. Feeling overwhelmed and in a moment of desperation, Mr. M called for his dog, who lept into action and bit the other individual, ripping a chunk off his arm and biting his face, causing serious injury. 

Aggravated Assault & Assault Causing Bodily Harm

As a result of these events, Mr. M was charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon, the first of which carried a maximum sentence of fourteen years imprisonment. Mr. M was extremely worried for his future; he was a very young man with his entire life ahead of him, and was now facing the prospect of going to jail. 

Negotiation to modify the charges

The team at S. Zalman Haouzi Avocat went to work and engaged in a series of negotiation meetings with the Crown, even providing them with detailed representations, including profile documents showing that Mr. M was a young man with a bright future who was so much more than these criminal charges. Despite these representations, we were unable to arrive at a plea agreement.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Not taking no for an answer, Zalman requested a facilitation conference before a judge. The judge largely agreed with our representations, but the Crown maintained their position. Undeterred, Zalman requested a second facilitation conference! Following this second conference, the Crown agreed to modify the charge from aggravated assault to assault causing bodily harm (and from indictment to summary conviction). The opened the door to a discharge (meaning that Mr. M could theoretically avoid a criminal record). As a result, Mr. M pled guilty to the modified counts, and we proceeded with a contested sentencing hearing. The position of the parties was vast: the Crown was seeking an 8-month sentence, and the defence was seeking a conditional discharge.

Conditional discharge granted by judge after sentencing hearing

Before the sentencing hearing, the team compiled a booklet of case law to provide to the judge and a booklet of profile documents. At the sentencing hearing, the Crown highlighted the objective gravity of the offence and the long-term consequences for the victim. The crown underscored that it was their position that an 8-month sentence was a just sentence. However, upon hearing the moving testimony of Mr. M (who was sincerely remorseful for what had taken place and had a bright future as an entrepreneur) and upon digesting our closing arguments, the judge ultimately granted Mr. M a conditional discharge. Not only did Mr. M avoid a jail sentence, but he also avoided a criminal record, allowing his life to remain intact.