D.T., a professional with a very successful career, was in the midst of divorce proceedings with his wife, with whom he had a 4-year-old daughter. D.T., his soon to be ex-wife, and their daughter lived in the same house as they could not come to an agreement on who would move out until the divorce was finalized. Not surprisingly, this led to significant conflict between D.T. and his wife; she wanted him out.
Shortly thereafter, D.T.’s wife contacted the local police and alleged that their 4-year old daughter confronted her and claimed that D.T. sexually assaulted her. D.T. was charged with sexual assault on his 4-year-old daughter. An offence that if convicted, carried with it a mandatory minimum period of imprisonment. D.T. was devastated by the allegations and vehemently denied it.
It was Sean Fagan’s belief that D.T.’s wife wanted D.T. removed from the house because the separation proceedings were taking too long, so she fabricated allegations against D.T.; the complaint was not supported by any circumstantial evidence. Moreover, the statements of the wife and daughter had strong indicators of fabrication and coaching. D.T., through discussions with his Criminal lawyer Sean Fagan, elected a trial by way of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta with a preliminary inquiry.
A preliminary inquiry can prove invaluable to the defense, because the defence lawyer has an opportunity to cross-examine critical Crown witnesses and the transcript which ensues at the conclusion of the proceedings can prove invaluable at trial. The defence can also use the preliminary inquiry to lay the essential evidentiary foundation for defences at trial. The only decision that will be made by the judge presiding at the preliminary inquiry is whether there is sufficient evidence to commit the accused to stand trial.
In this case, a preliminary hearing was scheduled. Prior to the preliminary inquiry, and after discussion with the Crown, they withdrew all charges. This saved D.T. a conviction for sexual assault and being entered on the sex offenders registry. Moreover, it saved his 4-year old daughter from having to testify against him.