Sexual Assault

Relevance key in introducing evidence of past sexual history

The past relationship between the complainant and the accused cannot be introduced as evidence in sexual assault cases unless it is clearly shown to be relevant, says Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb.

“There’s a very common saying that context is everything,” says Webb, principal of Melanie J. Webb Barrister. “Well, sometimes context is not sufficient, especially if you are dealing with an s. 276 application.”

Criminal trials not credibility contests

A recent decision in a sexual assault appeal is a reminder of the high bar the Crown faces to achieve a conviction in a criminal trial — proving a charge beyond a reasonable doubt, Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb tells

Beware of extortionists using #MeToo backdrop for financial gain

Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb says she has witnessed an increase in extortion attempts coinciding with the emergence of the #MeToo movement.

"I’m seeing more men who are victims of blackmail and extortion attempts," Webb, principal of Melanie J. Webb Barrister, tells "They are being wrongfully accused of sexual assault by complainants threatening to go to police or expose them to their families or colleagues. 

Changes to sex assault laws threaten to undermine fair trial

Proposed changes to Canada's sex assault laws threaten to undermine the fair trial rights of accused people by forcing them to disclose evidence in their possession, says Toronto criminal lawyer Melanie Webb.