The Oscar Slap

In the News

Truth is stranger than fiction! Actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony. The actor reacted to a joke aimed at his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. If the Oscars were held in Quebec, would Will Smith face criminal charges? 

Is slapping someone a crime?

A person who uses force against another person without their consent is committing the crime of assault. For example, slapping or punching someone, throwing an object at them, or scratching them is assault.

The offender does not have to hurt the victim to be charged with assault. Even a small amount of force can be considered an assault, such as spitting in another person’s face.

What if you were provoked?

Someone accused of assault will not normally be allowed to use provocation as a defense. This means you could be guilty even if the other person insulted you.

However, in some cases a judge may give you a lesser sentence if you were provoked.

What are the consequences?

Assault carries a maximum punishment of 5 years in jail. However, the sentence will be harsher if a weapon is used, the assault causes bodily harm, or the assault endangers someone life.

The person who committed the assault could also be sued in civil court. The victim can ask for compensation for any damage or injury they suffered.