Sexual Assault Panel 1 – Practical Tips & Advocacy |

Sexual Assault Panel 1 – Practical Tips & Advocacy

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Professionalism (Ethics, etc.): 0.25
10 minutes
Substantive: 0.5
35 minutes
Bruce Engel
Sean May
Michael Spratt
Meghan Thomas
County of Carleton Law Association (CCLA)
45 minutes
$89.00 plus tax
Includes Handouts

This panel will cover all issues related to representing clients who are charged with a sexual offence from four defence lawyers who have extensive experience defending clients facing these charges. The panelists will specifically discuss: the types of pre-trial applications that every defence lawyer should consider bringing for any client charged with sexual assault; how to advise your client on what applications to bring; and your professional responsibilities to your client.

Professionalism topics include:

  • 2.9 Conducting effective client interviews and client meetings to properly prepare for defending these types of cases
  • 1.6 Duties related to advocacy (not to abuse the tribunal process, mislead the tribunal, parameters around communication with witnesses, need for full disclosure, etc.)
  • 2.12 Managing client expectations related to fees and disbursements
  • 4.1 Practising with civility in the courtroom while litigating these cases
  • 4.2 Treating the court, tribunal, opposing counsel, parties and others with courtesy and respect


Bruce Engel

Bruce was called to the bar in 1991 and graduated from law school over 30 years ago. Where he went to law school and where he articled are not relevant to what he now does on a daily basis. Many first degree murderers have served their sentence and been released on parole since that time. Bruce currently works with a team of great lawyers and people in a criminal boutique. They defend individuals and the odd corporation charged with offences such as fraud, drunk driving, sexual assault, and being part of a criminal organization. Bruce has appeared at many levels of court in different jurisdictions. His favorite part of the job is meeting new clients. Aside from various acquittals, the highlight of the past year for Bruce has been watching his daughter recover, scoring his 500th goal, and becoming a grandfather.

Sean May

Sean May graduated from the University of Ottawa law school in 1989. He is from Ottawa and growing up in the city gives him knowledge and experience he is able to use in his trial work. On March 30, 1989, the day after being called to the bar, Sean opened his law practice working exclusively in the area of criminal law. He is Certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Criminal Law. Sean has practiced Criminal Law exclusively since 1989. He has represented clients in every level of Court, conducted many jury trials and often represented people in extremely serious cases. Since 2015, Sean May is proud to have been joined in practice by firm partner Kate Irwin.

Michael Spratt

Michael Spratt received a B.Sc. (Hon) in Biology and Environmental Science from McMaster University in 2001. Mr. Spratt was called to the Bar in 2005 after attending law school at Dalhousie University. Mr. Spratt is a partner at the boutique criminal law firm Abergel Goldstein & Partners. Mr. Spratt normally appears in the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice but he did carry Howard Krongold’s litigation bag to the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Mr. Spratt frequently appears as an expert witness before Canada's House of Commons and Senate. Mr. Spratt is an award winning blogger and has written for many publications including: iPolitics, the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa Sun, and Canadian Lawyer. Mr. Spratt is also co-hosts of the popular and award winning legal and political podcast The Docket. He has served as a director of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association. He later served as a treasurer, and vice-president, of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa. He has been a guest instructor at the University of Ottawa law school, Carleton University, and Algonquin College and has presented at numerous professional education conferences.

Meghan Thomas

Meaghan Thomas has been at Bayne Sellar Ertel Carter since she began her articles in 2009. She was called to the bar in 2010 and has been practicing criminal defense law exclusively ever since. Meaghan appears regularly in the Ontario Court of Justice and the Ontario Superior Court and also has a great deal of experience in both the Ottawa Youth and Mental Health Courts. In addition, Meaghan has appeared in both the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal in relation security matters. Meaghan attended Queen's law and graduated in 2009. While in law school Meaghan worked for the National Judicial Institute, assisting in the development of educational programming for judges, with a focus on evidentiary issues in the criminal context. Meaghan specializes in youth criminal justice and teaches Youth Criminal Justice for the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. Meaghan is a member of the Ottawa Youth Justice Service Network, and the Ontario Bar Association's Child and Youth Law Executive. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Ottawa’s Collaborative Justice Program, advocating for the increased use of this program in youth cases. In addition, Meaghan is a committee member for Ontario Justice Education Network, which organizes justice education initiatives for youth in the Ottawa area.

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