Violent Crimes

Violent crimes range from minor assaults to kidnapping cases, all the way to murder. The lawyers at Martland & Saulnier are well versed in defending such cases. There may be defences available to an accused person, such as self-defence or accident. There are routinely credibility issues, which require a critical assessment of the evidence from the complainant and witnesses. Our firm is experienced in addressing these issues both in the courtroom and out.


Murder is among the most serious offences in law. It gives rise to the maximum punishment available, a life sentence. The law of murder is complex, and different issues arise in each murder trial. The Crown must prove that the person died, that the killing was intentional, and that the accused person is the killer (or responsible as part of a conspiracy, for instance). There may be defences such as self-defence and accident. There might be so-called partial defences, which reduce liability from murder to manslaughter; examples include provocation and extreme intoxication.

The firm of Martland & Saulnier is experienced in murder cases. We have defended murder cases successfully in high-profile prosecutions (such as the Air India trial) as well as in cases that are not known to the public. The firm has experience with lengthy and especially complicated murder cases, sometimes called “mega-trials”, such as the Pickton case, Air India, and Surrey Six. The firm is defending several murder cases in 2013 alone.


In law, an assault is an intentional application of force to another person (or the threat of force), without that person consenting. This is a broad definition, and technically could give rise to liability for a relatively minor type of contact. In the Criminal Code, there are various types of assault, from simple assault, to assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, and aggravated assault. Many homicide cases are really assault cases – albeit, assaults of a highly aggravated nature


Many assault cases arise in the context of a marriage or relationship between the complainant and the accused. There are special policies employed by the police, Crown and courts for such domestic assaults. Knowledgeable counsel will be able to advise on the options, and can respond to immediate concerns such as providing for contact with children, or the complainant in some cases.

Various defences may arise in assault cases, including self defence and accident. Credibility issues are often present. There may be evidence that either corroborates or contradicts one version of events. There may also be a way to resolve the case by having charges dropped or reduced.

The lawyers at Martland & Saulnier are familiar with the law and the practicalities of defending assault cases.