Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
“Even though ignorance of the law is not a defense, your specific lack of intent can be a defense. In order to convict you of an offense, the state does not have to prove that you were aware of a specific law, but they are generally required to prove that you intended the conduct that resulted in the violation.” LawFreeAdvice
An Ottawa man has been found not guilty of sexually assaulting his wife because of his honest belief that he had the right to have intercourse with her whenever he wanted.
In a written ruling, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Smith said the Crown failed to prove that the accused had formed the required criminal intent — mens rea — to sexually assault his wife in 2002.
“I find that the accused probably had sex with his wife on many occasions without her specific consent, as both he and she believed that he had the right to do so,” Smith said.
However, the judge ruled the man was not guilty of sexual assault because the Crown had failed to establish that he knew his behaviour was, in fact, criminal. OttawaCitizen