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Toronto failing to bring sexual assault suspects to court: former Crown

Cynthia Mulligan and Cici Fan | posted Tuesday, Apr 25th, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 6.47.42 AM

A CityNews exclusive investigation into sexual assault cases in Toronto over the last few years show that only about a third of police complaints make their way to the court system.

Between 2012 and 2015, Toronto Police received on average 1764 reports of sexual assault a year. Yet less than 38 per cent were seen by a Crown.

Former Crown Attorney David Butt says that’s not good enough.

“There is just simply too high a failure rate, “ Butt told CityNews. “We also know from the statistics that the false allegation rate is somewhere in the neighbourhood between five and 10 per cent. But that’s way more than five or 10 per cent of cases that are falling off before they get to a charge.”


CityNews also found that out of all the sexual assault cases that made it to the courts across the province between 2012 and 2015, on average 33 per cent ended in guilty verdicts or guilty pleas.

Attorney General hopes victims are treated equally  

On Monday, a CityNews exclusive investigation revealed that records detailing every sexual assault case in Ontario that made it to court over the past five years paint a startling picture of discrepancies.

For example, in Toronto more sex assault cases are dropped by the Crown either before or during a trial than any other large jurisdiction in the province. Almost half (48 per cent) have been withdrawn or stayed since 2012. The provincial average is 39 per cent. Toronto also has one of the lowest trial rates for sex assault cases in the province at 25 per cent.

A third of suspects convicted

A chart shows the number of police complaints and court cases over four years in Ontario. Source: Minister of the Attorney General

“Of course we take cases of sexual assault very seriously,” Attorney General of Ontario Yasir Naqvi told CityNews Monday. “We do not make any discrimination or differentiation between geography.”

“First, each case is different. I don’t think one can make an analysis by looking at numbers like this because the circumstances around each case are very different.”

His answer to whether someone would receive the same amount of justice whether they’re sexually assaulted in Toronto versus Ottawa or Timmins was, “That is absolutely my hope.”


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