The offence of criminal harassment can occur by the following behaviour:
- Repeatedly following from place to place a person or anyone known to them;
- Repeatedly communicating with a person or anyone known to them;
- Besetting or watching a house or any other place where the other person or anyone known to them may be; or
- Engaging in threatening conduct aimed at the other person or any member of their family.
Merely engaging in the conduct above is not enough to be guilty of criminal harassment. The Crown Attorney must establish additional elements in any prosecution for criminal harassment. The additional pieces are:
- that the complainant was harassed;
- that the accused knew that the complainant was harassed or was reckless as to whether the complainant was harassed;
- that the conduct by the accused caused the complainant to fear for her safety or the safety of anyone known to her; and
- that the complainant’s fear was, in all the circumstances, reasonable.
If the Crown Attorney does not prove every single one of these additional elements, then the offence of criminal harassment will not be made out.
If you are charged with criminal harassment, the Crown Attorney can proceed against you by summarily or by indictment. If the Crown Attorney elects to proceed summarily, then the maximum sentence is 6 months in jail. If the Crown Attorney elects to proceed by indictment, then the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison. In the majority of cases, the Crown Attorney elects to proceed summarily on this type of offence.
If you have been charged with criminal harassment, you can email Mr. Luft at [email protected] or call him at 416-433-2402 to schedule a free consultation.