The words "domestic assault" do not appear in the Criminal Code. That has not stopped the Crowns from forming a special group of prosecutors and the police from assembling a special group of invesitgators to deal with these offences. Any allegation of assault in the context of a domestic relationship, whether marriage or dating, is subject to special protocols and policies from the time a complaint is made all the way through to trial.
The defence of a domestic assault allegation can be very complicated. There is no trial that more regularly involves complex principles of evidence, such as cross-examinations of one's own witness, hearsay statements and recantations. Defence counsel must be as skilled at dealing with friendly witnesses tendered by the Crown as he or she is at vigorously cross-examining hostile witnesses. Defence counsel have to know how to take statements and ensure proper independant legal advice for third parties. If the defence lawyer doesn't know his de minimis from his KGB, he should not be defending domestic assault cases.
At WSGA, we have experience dealing with all manner of domestic offences, ranging from a push or shove that gets called in by a neighbour to domestic murders where the Crown calls experts to demonstrate traumatic bonding.