Kahlon Law is a leading law firm which has experience in defending cases of criminal harassment. We understand that this is a sensitive issue which is dealt with very aggressively by the law enforcing agencies in Ontario and other parts of Canada, and that’s why the firm takes special care in these cases to protect the rights of our clients. Read along to find out what happens if you are faced with charges of criminal harassment.
Section 264 of the Criminal Code defines criminal harassment as engaging in one of the following conducts and thereby causing another person to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of anyone known to them:
- 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.
- Engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.
In order to be found guilty of the offence, the accused must either know or be reckless as to whether the complainant is harassed by one or more of the above-mentioned forms of conduct.
Trial and Defenses
It is the duty of the prosecution to prove that the accused knew that the complainant was harassed or that the accused was reckless as to whether the victim was harassed by the alleged conduct. Moreover, it is the duty of the prosecution to establish that the fear so allegedly induced in the complainant was reasonable in the circumstances. A lawyer will attack the essential elements of the offence to prove that the crown has not met their burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt.
As per Section 264(3), doing the aforesaid conduct is an indictable offence which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to ten years, or with a summary conviction. Most people found guilty of a criminal harassment who do not have prior record will unlikely receive a jail sentence unless there are aggravating factors. The nature of the offence and the personal circumstances of the offender will be considered by the court at sentencing.
If the accused believes that he has committed harassment, and the crown has an overwhelming case against the accused, the lawyer will negotiate a result that minimizes the impact on your freedom and your future. However, this remedy should never be chosen only to prevent going through the trial. No accused should feel pressurized to haste in admitting guilt or signing a Peace Bond. The trial is indeed lengthy and tiring, but a good Criminal Defense Lawyer will be able to ensure that justice is served in the way most convenient for his client.Charter Rights and Bail After Arrest
If the police arrest you for committing harassment, you still retain all your legal and Charter rights, which include the right to consult a lawyer, right to obtain bail, and more. The police must let you talk to your lawyer before taking your statement. In such scenario, it is advised that a good Criminal Defense Lawyer should be contacted so that you being a layman in terms of legal issues may not make a grave mistake. It is advisable to speak to a lawyer prior to surrendering to the police.
The next step after arrest is to obtain bail. It is likely that the bail will be granted with certain conditions. For instance, conditions prohibiting direct or indirect contact with the complainant. In such cases, a Criminal Defense Lawyer can help his client by securing judicial interim release on the least restrictive conditions.
If you are in Ontario and you ever find yourself in a situation where you are or might be arrested, give us a call at (844) 978-8444 and rest assured that there will be a licensed professional looking out for your freedom and well-being. You may also click here to schedule a free one-hour consultation.