Lying about rape, violence, drug dealing?

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve heard the allegations against Jian Ghomeshi and Bill Cosby.

And, in light of those accusations (and the overwhelming assumption that they are both guilty of ALL such accusations), it got me thinking:  we need to be VERY CAREFUL to not simply presume that someone is guilty.

Now, you may be thinking, “How can this guy think that either Jian or Bill is innocent?”

To be clear, I am not saying that, at all.

I am simply saying that we shouldn’t be so quick to presume guilt in light of ANY accusation.

The truth is that not ALL accusations are accurate and SOME people lie.

Think about it…

Would you ever tell a lie to get something that you wanted?  How about something that was really important to you, like your freedom, your job, or your children.  Would you lie in those circumstances?

Maybe you wouldn’t.  And, I hope that you wouldn’t.  But, fact is: some people do.

And, sometimes, people even lie to a judge.

In various areas of the law, including in family law, people sometimes fabricate accusations against an opposing party, typically for the benefit of their file (or their life).

It’s (relatively) rare; but, it happens…

Sadly, these accusations often revolve around ‘who gets to live with the kids.’

As I wrote in a prior column, emotions typically run the highest in family law files.

Imagine this: a separated mother and father are fighting over who has more parenting time with little Johnny.   Now, imagine that one parent has a criminal charge against them, which could be sexual assault, assault, or drug dealing/using.  The one parent is likely going to benefit (in their own family law case) if the other parent is convicted of a crime, right?

Think about it: if the other parent is found guilty of being abusive or a drug abuser, then that would probably hurt that parent’s argument that he/she is such a great parent and that the child would be in ‘good hands’ with them, right?

In these circumstances, an opposing party may stand to gain when the other party loses.

Some people seemingly think, “If I can convince a judge that my former spouse is a violent person or is a drug/alcohol abuser, I may receive a more favorable outcome in my family law case.”

It is an awful reality.  But, it happens.  And, it doesn’t work in the end.

Fortunately, when accusations occur in family court, judges and lawyers are keen to explore the issue and determine whether or not there is truth to the accusation.  People who work in family law recognize that it’s an incredibly emotional area of law and that there is often a fine line between love and hate.

So, in the end, here are my suggestions:

  1. If you hear an accusation against someone, don’t blindly believe it. Some accusations can ruin innocent lives.  And, remember: there are always at least two sides to every story.
  2. If an accusation is made against you, get some legal advice/assistance. The consequences of having a false accusation ‘stick’ could be devastating.

And now you know.

**The information contained in this column should not be treated by readers as legal advice and should not be relied on without detailed legal counsel being sought. 

Column originally posted on January 9, 2015 on Castanet.net: Lying about rape, violence, drug dealing?

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