CRIMINAL HARASSMENT LAWYER FARJOUD LAW
What is Criminal Harassment?
Criminal harassment is commonly referred to or known as ‘stalking‘ is considered a crime in Canada. Generally, the offence prohibits any conduct that is repeatedly carried out over a period of time that causes its targets to reasonably fear for their safety but does not necessarily result in physical harm.
Criminal harassment is an offence pursuant to the Criminal Code of Canada under section 264 (1):
It states that 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 the conduct outlined below that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.
Seven elements of criminal harassment which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to sustain a conviction under s.264:
(1) The accused must have engaged in one or more of the types of conduct set out in the section and, in so doing, the accused must have intended to harass the complainant, or was reckless as to whether the conduct did, in fact, harass the complainant; and the complainant in all the circumstances must have experienced “reasonable fear” as a result of the conduct;
(2) The Crown need not establish that the complainant was actually threatened, or that any actual injury – either physical or mental – was caused to the complainant as a result of the accused’s conduct;
(3) “Repeatedly” means “many times over”, specifically more than once or twice, and the circumstances of each case will determine whether an act has been “repeatedly” performed;
(4) “Safety” means more than freedom from physical harm; it includes freedom from fear of mental, emotional or psychological trauma;
(5) “Harassment” means the conduct must be unwelcome to the complainant and includes an element of tormenting the complainant;
(6) The test for reasonable fear on the part of the complainant involves an inquiry into whether a reasonable person, in the particular circumstances of the complainant, would fear for his or her safety or the safety of anyone known to him or her;
(7) In considering whether the complainant’s fears are reasonably held, the court must take into consideration the complainant’s gender, and the history and circumstances surrounding the prior relationship between the accused and the complainant.
The section further outlines the conduct that is considered to be criminal harassment
(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.
The section further states the maximum punishment for criminal harassment
By way of indictable offence carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence
By way of summary conviction, a maximum of 6 months jail time
Criminal Harassment FAQs
We will review some of the more commonly asked questions about Criminal Harassment offences in this FAQs section.
What does “repeatedly” mean?
“Repeatedly” refers to conduct that is persistent and overly frequent. It has been interpreted as more than one time and does not have to be over an extended period of time.
What does “directly or indirectly” mean?
Directly can be considered to be contact with the complainant via telephone, in person, leaving messages, sending electronic messages, gifts, notes, letters, etc.
Indirectly can be considered to be contact with the complainant by contacting a third party and sending messages or other forms of communication through the third party.
What does “harassed” mean?
The term “harassed” has been defined by courts as “tormented, troubled, worried, continually or chronically, plagued, bedevilled and badgered”
What is a peace bond and am I eligible?
A peace bond is a court order or an agreement that an accused person enters into with the court in exchange for the criminal charges to be withdrawn. As part of the agreement, the accused person must abide by certain conditions, similar to bail conditions. Conditions of the peace bond may include keep the peace and be of good behaviour, not to possess any weapons, not to contact the complaint, etc. Peace bonds are typically 12 months in length and are not considered a finding of guilt, which means that they do not result in a conviction, but may still appear on a criminal background search.
Only a Crown Attorney can decide whether a peace bond will be available to an accused charged with criminal harassment. This decision is based on various factors and the unique facts and circumstances of each case.
Please note that this article is solely for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice. In order to ensure the protection of your rights and interests, please consult a criminal defence lawyer prior to acting or relying upon any information.
Contact Farjoud Law – Toronto Criminal Harassment Lawyer
If you or someone you care about has been charged with drug possession offence, it is in your best interests to speak directly to a criminal defence lawyer in North York, Toronto to find out your rights and get your questions answered. Call Farjoud Law now at (647) 606-6776 to speak with a criminal lawyer to discuss your matter. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Farjoud Law is located at 4950 Yonge Street, Suite 2200 in the neighbourhood of North York in Toronto, Ontario. Click here for directions to our law office.