What Is A Criminal Harassment Offence In Canada?

June 25, 2020

What Is A Criminal Harassment Offence In Canada?

In Canada, you’ll be charged with a criminal harassment offence if you’re found engaging in prohibited conduct knowingly that results in another person’s fear for the safety of their own or someone close to them. Usually referred to as stalking, criminal harassment charges include repeated but undesired attempts to communicate with a complainant.

Charges related to criminal harassment offences are usually laid against people who might wish to pursue an enforced relationship with a plaintiff. They can include sending unsolicited and unwanted phone calls or messages repeatedly, ultimately resulting in criminal harassment charges. Other examples of such criminal offence may also involve following or watching a complainant at their residence or place of work.

Things To Prove For A Conviction Involving Criminal Harassment

The Crown Prosecutor will be required to prove the following vital things beyond a reasonable doubt for successfully convicting you in relation to criminal harassment:

  • The plaintiff having felt being harassed by you
  • Knowing that your certain conduct would make the complainant feel harassed, or you were willfully blind or reckless with regards to whether your particular behaviour would make the plaintiff feel harassed
  • Your specific conduct causing the plaintiff to fear for their safety or anyone else close to them
  • Worries of the complainant being reasonable under the circumstances and you being engaged in some prohibited activity as outlined in the Canadian Criminal Code
  • Prohibited conduct may include following the plaintiff everywhere repeatedly, communicating with the complainant non-stop or anyone close to them either directly or indirectly, watching the place regularly where the complainant lives or works, and displaying a threatening behaviour directed towards the complainant or someone close to them

Although the word “harassed” has not been defined in the Canadian criminal code, the Canadian courts have usually interpreted it as being troubled, worried, or badgered as per the conduct of the accused. Repeated badgering throughout a single, extended interaction is deemed sufficient by the Candian courts to fulfil the “repeated” element of criminal harassment offence.

Penalty For Criminal Harassment In Canada

If you’re charged and convicted for a criminal harassment felony, it can result in a sentence of up to 10-year imprisonment as a result of the indictment. In case of summary conviction, you can be handed a penalty of up to 18 months imprisonment and a $5000.00 fine.

Apart from having a possible jail sentence, you may also have to adhere to some restrictive ancillary orders from the court. You may be given a weapons or firearms prohibition precluding you from possessing or owning weapons or firearms for the rest of the duration of the court’s order.

If weapons or firearms prohibition is connected with your sentence, then you’ll also be required to forfeit any currently owned weapons or guns to the Crown. Additionally, in severe cases, the Crown can also make an application for a DNA order to provide your DNA samples to a National Databank, or they can even make an application for registering you as a sex offender.

Given the severity of your circumstances when charged with criminal harassment, it’s best to obtain the services of an expert criminal defence lawyer near you as soon as possible.

Slaferek Callihoo is a superior criminal defence law firm based in Edmonton, Alberta, dealing with successfully defending all significant types of criminal offences. Visit our website to learn more about our legal services or contact us for expert legal advice.

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