Criminal Harassment

Xavier Cormier, a criminal defense lawyer, defends clients charged with criminal harassment and harassing phone calls.

Criminal harassment is a criminal offence provided under Section 264 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The essential elements of criminal harassment are as follows: repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them; repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them; 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 engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family. The actions must have the effect of making the victim reasonably fear for his or her physical, psychological or emotional safety. Sometimes all it takes is one gesture to make it possible to conclude there was criminal harassment. Criminal harassment is liable to a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment or a fine of $ 2,000 when prosecuted summarily (Section 264(3)(b) Criminal Code) and five years in prison when considered an indictable offence (Section 264 (3)(a) Criminal Code). Criminal harassment often occurs in a context of domestic violence. An absolute discharge is a possible sentence if certain conditions are present. A peace bond is an alternative way to settle the case that is sometimes used by lawyers in cases of criminal harassment when certain conditions are present.

The offence of harassing telephone calls is provided under Section 372(3) of the Criminal Code. The offence is described as follows: Every one who, without lawful excuse and with intent to harass any person, makes or causes to be made repeated telephone calls to that person is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction. The crime of harassing phone calls is liable to a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment or a $ 2,000 fine.

A lawyer responsible for defending clients charged with these offences has to ask certain questions, for instance: what evidence is there that the client carried out the acts he is charged with, did the actions make the plaintiff reasonably fear for her safety (as regards the offence of criminal harassment), what were the client’s intentions when he carried out the alleged actions?

Any person charged with criminal harassment or harassing phone calls is highly recommended to consult a criminal defense lawyer.

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