Toronto Criminal Harassment Lawyer
Criminal Harassment is a serious criminal offence which is set out in section 264 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The offence essentially criminalizes unwanted communication and/or contact from another individual. Criminal Harassment is a charge that is commonly laid during the breakdown of a relationship – be it romance or business. The charge is also laid in circumstances where a complainant does not wish to establish a relationship with a persistent accused. Annoying, repetitive behaviour is generally insufficient to attract criminal liability.
The crown attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the complainant was harassed, and that the accused was aware of this fact (or reckless/wilfully blind). It’s also very important to mention that the crown attorney must prove that the complainant had fear for his/her safety of the the safety of someone they know, AND that the fear is reasonable in the circumstances. The Criminal Code of Canada sets out four different types of prohibited conduct which may lead the police to investigate and subsequently lay a Criminal Harassment charge.
What is Criminal Harassment?
The Criminal Code of Canada defines Criminal Harassment as:
264. (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.
(2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of
(a) repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them;
(b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them;
(c) besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or
(d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.
What is the Punishment for Criminal Harassment?
(3) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction (maximum $5,000 fine or 6 months in jail).