Gilbert Rozon: Understanding the Accusations

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Gilbert Rozon’s trial begins today. Why was he accused of rape and indecent assault instead of sexual assault?

Crimes committed before 1983

In Canada, someone is generally accused of the crime which existed at the time when the crime was committed. This means that sometimes the crime will no longer exist when charges are brought.

Gilbert Rozon is accused of crimes dating back to 1980. He is accused of rape and indecent assault. However, those crimes were abolished in 1983 and no longer exist. They were replaced by the crime of sexual assault.

However, even today someone can be accused of rape if the crime was committed before 1983 and:

  • Was committed by a man against a woman who was not his wife
  • Involved genital penetration by the man of the woman.

Indecent assault involved non-consensual sexual acts that were not rape. At the time, it was generally considered less serious than rape. Indecent assault could be committed against a woman or a man.

Sexual assault

Today, the crime of sexual assault includes actions which would have qualified as rape or indecent assault before those crimes were abolished.

In fact, under the Criminal Code, sexual assault includes all non-consensual sexual touching. This means that an unwanted kiss or touch can be prosecuted as sexual assault.

As of 1983, anyone can be considered a victim of sexual assault, not only women. Husbands can also be charged with sexual assault against their wife.

No deadline to file charges

There is no deadline to report sexual assault to the police. Just like in the case of Gilbert Rozon, who is accused of committing a crime 40 years ago, anyone can make a complaint to the police even if many years have passed.