What if my spouse does not want there to be any charges?

When police conduct an investigation for domestic assault, they must lay charges if they have a reasonable suspicion that a partner assault has taken place. The spouse does not have a say in whether or not charges are laid, and the police do not have discretion to lay charges even if the assault is minor.

Once a partner assault charge has been laid, the complainant has no say in how the matter is prosecuted. The crown will generally not withdraw a charge, even if the complainant attends their office or writes a letter asking that the charges be dropped, or that they want to get back together with their spouse.

The crown is required to follow directives and policies from the Ministry of the Attorney General. Once of these directives is that in a domestic assault prosecution, the prosecution will not withdraw a charge unless there is no reasonable prospect of conviction. The crown will consider all the evidence, including observations by any police or third party witnesses and statements given to the police to determine any reasonable prospect of conviction. If the complainant’s statement indicates an assault took place, that information will be used when considering reasonable prospect of conviction.

Even if there is no reasonable prospect of conviction, the crown often will err on the side of caution and will proceed with a prosecution, even when the complainant has requested that no charge be laid. In this situation, unless the accused pleads guilty, the matter will proceed to trial and the complainant will be subpoenaed and forced to testify.

Filed Under
Domestic Assault