The Impact of Character References in an Assault Defence

by Gagan Nahal June 28th, 2024
The Impact of Character References in an Assault Defence

Character references can prove to be important in either an assault defence or the defence of another criminal matter in different ways. Today, in our blog, we will take a look at two of the ways that character references are used in criminal proceedings: a character witness and a character reference letter. 

Character Witness

A character witness is a witness that your lawyer calls to testify in your defence. The character witness helps by attesting to your good character and integrity, and generally makes you look or sound like an upstanding citizen. The point of the character witness is to create doubt in the minds of a judge or jury that you could have committed whatever crime (like assault) that you are accused of.

Bear in mind that not just anyone can be a character witness. In order for the character witness to be both acceptable and credible, the witness has to have known you for a long time and to be of good character themselves. Someone with a criminal record is not a good character witness. Similarly, someone you knew for two weeks while working part-time on a road crew is also not a good character witness. An example of a good character witness is your family doctor who knows you for over 10 years and knows that you take care of your ailing mother, buying her groceries, cooking her food, and making sure she takes her medication.

A good character witness is a stellar individual who can speak clearly and is overwhelmingly believable to anyone listening to his or her testimony. 

Character Reference Letter

A character reference letter is an instrument that is written to a judge or parole board and in criminal proceedings can influence decisions regarding sentencing or parole—in your favour. There are templates available for writing a character reference letter, but, again, as mentioned above, the letter should be immaculately crafted and written by someone of outstanding character in order to be valuable.

Discuss with your lawyer whether a character reference can help in your case and listen to your lawyer’s advice regarding who should write a letter like this. 

If you have been charged with assault or other criminal offences, please contact Gagan Nahal for a free consultation in Vancouver at (604) 527-4769 as soon as possible. Mr. Nahal’s law practice focuses on criminal defence law, and he has extensive experience in this area of the law. 

Gagan Nahal is a criminal defence lawyer based in Surrey, British Columbia, although he has represented clients across Canada. He works vigorously and tirelessly defending his clients. 

If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to Mr. Nahal, please call him directly at (604) 527-4769.

Gagan Nahal is a dedicated criminal lawyer who exclusively practices criminal defence law. After being called to the Bar of British Columbia, Gagan launched his own criminal law practice. He previously completed his articles with a high-profile criminal lawyer, gaining exposure to senior defence lawyers and working on complex, serious cases.

Fluent in Punjabi and Hindi, Gagan leverages his language skills to better serve a diverse clientele.