Everyone should be extremely careful what they post online because whether or not you are aware of this fact, you may have already given up your right to remain silent.
If you are arrested and charged with sexual assault in Canada anything you verbally say to police can and will be used against you in court. If officers persist in interrogating a detainee after they have stated they wish to exercise their right to remain silent, defence counsel can later argue that any statements made to police were involuntary and therefore in violation of their rights. However, recently the Supreme Court of Canada ruled, 5-4, that, unlike our neighbours in the United States, there are circumstances wherein police are not necessarily required to stop their interrogation should a detained person attempt to exercise their right to remain silent. This case was a murder investigation in which the accused man declared his wish to be silent 18 times, before finally admitting incriminating details that eventually led to his conviction. Many were surprised and dismayed when the Court ruled that his statements were not in violation of his rights. As reported in a 2007 thestar.com article, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that “the right to silence in Canada is not an absolute rule that requires police to stop interrogating people who have no wish to speak with investigators.”
To make matters even more perilous in today’s high-tech society, the phrase “anything you say can be used against you in court”, should be amended to include “anything that you text or post in social media can be used against you”. If you are arrested and accused of sexual assault, prosecutors may analyse your FaceBook, Twitter, Email, iPhone messenger, Line and, “WhatsApp” accounts to try and come up with evidence against you. In addition, your photos, comments and “likes” will help prosecutors to paint a picture of who you are and what your tendencies may be. Prosecutors can also determine the nature of the relationship you have and have had with your accuser. Over the years, hundreds of interactions may have occurred and, the prosecution will use what it can find to build a case against you.
From a defence standpoint, sexual assault cases often come down to “he said, she said” cases with little if any physical evidence. When such is the case, online evidence can play a crucial role in your defence. As sexual assault defence lawyers, we analyse smartphone text conversations, FaceBook posts, shares, likes, and comments, Twitter tweets and favourited items, and email correspondence of your accuser to try and find anything that could hurt the case against you. Recorded Google searches, chat logs on texting apps like Line and What’s App can paint a compelling picture of the relationship that existed before and after the time of the alleged sexual assault. It would be difficult, for example, for a plaintiff to prove that a sexual assault had occurred if text logs show that a normal relationship existed before and after the alleged event. Finally, phone texting logs can be retained and read to gain even further insight into the nature of the relationship that existed between the accused and the accuser.
The person accusing you may have accused others in the past and wrote about it online. They may have identified, friended and liked the posts of others who had falsely accused another of a sexual crime for their personal gain. Also, the plaintiff may have actually planned out the false accusation in detail, in advance, in emails to another trusted party. All the information that we gather online can help us to build a case for your defence. The social media tools that are at our disposal to aid in your defence have never been greater.
If you have been arrested and charged with sexual assault please call the sexual assault defence lawyers at Kruse Law. We will exhaust all sources of social media to challenge the credibility of those who are accusing you. While social media sometimes aids the prosecution in proving a sexual offence has occurred, it also makes it more difficult for those who have falsely accused another to hide their actions. We will leave no stone unturned to gather social media evidence to aid in your defence. At Kruse Law, we understand the technology behind a sexual assault allegation. We can help you. Call us today.