Sexual Offences

The Criminal Code contains a number of sex related offences including sexual assault, accessing and making available child pornography, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation, prostitution offences and obscenity allegations. Being charged with any of these offences is extremely serious and can have enormous consequences for the person charged. Some of these offences can result in a maximum sentence of life in prison while others have a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. Some of the consequences of a conviction for sexual offences include:

  • Going to prison for a long time;
  • Being labelled a Sex Offender and placed on the Sex Offender Registry;
  • Social stigma;
  • Loss of a job, career or a professional license;

If the police contact you asking questions about any sex-related offence you should immediately contact a lawyer and not say anything until you have had an opportunity to consult with a lawyer. If you are arrested for a sexual offence you should never agree to answer questions for the police or engage in any conversation with them about the matter unless you have consulted with a lawyer. In many cases involving sexual offences the police case may be weak and insufficient to obtain a conviction and they want you to provide information which will assist them in sending you to prison.

Thomas J. Singleton is a highly skilled criminal defence lawyer who has successfully defended numerous individuals charged with sexual offences before the courts in Nova Scotia. If you are facing a sex related charge please call Mr. Singleton at (902) 492-7000 or (902) 483-3080 (after hours) to arrange a free consultation, or seek emergency legal advice.


Sexual assault charges are of varying degrees of seriousness and include Aggravated Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault Causing Bodily Harm and Sexual Assault with a Weapon. The punishment for sexual assault can range from a period of probation for less serious acts to a significant term in prison for more serious cases. Aggravated Sexual Assault carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. If a weapon was used in the course of committing the sexual assault there is a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison.

The burden of proving an allegation of sexual assault rests with the prosecution which must prove each element of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. It is often possible that a person charged with sexual assault can assert a legal defence that the complainant consented to the sexual activity. Some sexual assault cases, the so called historical sexual assaults flow from charges laid by the police many years, sometimes decades, after the alleged conduct occurred. These cases pose a number of problems because memories have faded over time or the complainant may have been influenced by therapy sessions, substance abuse or other factors. Skilled criminal defence lawyers know that there are many ways to defend an accused in such cases.

Recent changes to the Criminal Code have made the defence against a charge of sexual assault or other sexual offences more complicated. These Criminal Code changes which came into effect on December 13, 2018, limit the ability of a lawyer representing an accused to cross-examine the complainant. Some of the Criminal Code changes effectively force Defence counsel to provide advance notice to the complainant of certain issues which may be the subject of cross-examination. The net effect of these changes is to significantly impair the ability of defence lawyers to effectively defend clients charged with sexual assault and related sexual offences. As well, recent changes made by Bill C-75 effectively eliminate the right of most individuals charged with sexual assault to have a preliminary inquiry to test the Crown s evidence before it is necessary to proceed to a trial. This severely impacts the defence of sexual assault cases because it effectively forces every sexual assault case to proceed to a trial. Previously, many cases would come to an end after both the Defence and the Crown heard from the complainant at the preliminary inquiry. For more information on the difficulty of defending sexual assault charges, please see our blog entitled Can an Accused Receive a Fair Trial in a Sexual Assault Case?

If you are accused of or being investigated for a sexual offence it is extremely important that you know your right to remain silent and your right to consult with a lawyer before giving any statement to the police. If you become aware that you are being investigated for sexual assault you should contact Thomas J. Singleton immediately at (902) 492-7000 or (902) 483-3080 (after hours) to arrange free consultation or seek emergency legal advice.


Child pornography is defined as any form of visual media or written materials: photos, videos, film, books, magazines, or other media that shows or depicts a minor (under eighteen years of age) engaged in, or depicted to be engaged in, any sexual activity. Creating or distributing child pornography can be punished by a maximum of ten years in prison. Simply possessing child pornography can result in a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Police departments across Canada have special units which use sophisticated on-line surveillance techniques to investigation the creation, distribution and possession of child pornography. In Nova Scotia the Public Prosecution Service has recently added a second special prosecutor for child pornography and other internet related sex crimes. In addition to a sentence of up to ten years in prison (depending on the charge) a person who is convicted of child pornography is usually added to the Sex Offender Registry. This will obviously interfere with your ability to find future employment and have lasting effects on relationships with your family and neighbours.

If you are under investigation for, or have been charged with any of these crimes, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Thomas J. Singleton may be able to defend you against these very serious charges and preserve your reputation if you contact him immediately at (902) 492-7000 or (902) 483-3080 (after hours).


In general, sexual interference is defined in the Criminal Code as the act of an adult touching a person under the age of 14, either with the body or an object with a sexual intention. Other parts of the Criminal Code regarding related sexual offences go on to define exceptions of age, inclusion of the offences of invitation to sexual touching or sexual exploitation, whether there was consent or not.

Being charged with sexual interference with a minor is probably one of the most frightening criminal charges. The public (and criminals alike) tend to view sexual offences with minors to be the most heinous of crimes, with permanent damage to an individual s personal reputation and professional career. Even when an individual is found Not Guilty of such accusations, they may find themselves ostracized from the public and in constant fear of retribution from angry neighbours.

If you are being investigated for or have been charged with sexual interference with a minor, it is extremely important that you contact a lawyer before you agree to give statements to the police or a social worker.

Sexual interference charges are very challenging to defend against because minors may have been manipulated by an angry parent, adult, psychologist or other counsellor to make false claims of being molested. If you are convicted of Sexual Interference you will be sent to prison for up to ten years and your name will be placed on the Sex Offender Registry. Thomas J. Singleton is known for his aggressive defence of persons charged with sexual offences and has saved the futures and careers of numerous persons who have faced these terrible accusations. It is extremely important that you contact Mr. Singleton before you make any statement to the police or a social worker about a charge of sexual interference. Mr. Singleton can be reached at (902) 492-7000 or (902) 483 -3080 (after hours).