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Legal Aid Alberta adds new way of assisting sexual assault complainants in complex legal territory

New procedure will help reduce delays and provide Albertans with lawyers who can help protect their rights in sexual assault trials.

Communications and Public Relations February 03, 2021

Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) is speeding up the ways they help vulnerable Albertans in sexual assault cases by providing legal support for all complainants whose sexual history, relevant e-mails or text messages, and medical records may come under scrutiny in a trial.

“The rules of evidence are complicated in sexual assault trials. For example, the accused sometimes asks a judge for permission to discuss the complainant’s sexual history, or to show a jury emails or text messages the complainant sent someone,” says Danny Lynn, Legal Aid Alberta Senior Advisory Counsel. “And sometimes the accused asks for permission to see the complainant’s medical records or counselling records.”

“Time is of the essence in these sorts of applications. Nobody wants to see a trial delayed because a complainant hasn’t had an opportunity to get legal advice.”

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