Ottawa Criminal Harassment Defence Lawyer • Ontario Criminal Harassment Defence Lawyer

What is Criminal Harassment?

Criminal harassment is truly the charge of the decade. Arguably originally created by Parliament as an offence to deter stalking of one person by another, where an explicit threat of death or bodily harm is not usually uttered and there is no physically assaultive behaviour, the charge has now become widespread in so many situations to essentially cover all unwanted conduct by one person that may affect another person.

While in theory the police should be issuing one of more warnings to individuals about unwanted conduct prior to laying a harassment charge, occasionally such a charge is laid merely based on a single complaint by another person. Convictions for criminal harassment have even been entered for a single incident of unwanted contact. Thus if you are charged with harassment, you need to take the charge very seriously, even if you’re confident that in your own mind you’ve done nothing legally or morally wrong.

How to Defend Against Criminal Harassment?

Like almost all other criminal offences, criminal harassment is a crime that require proof beyond a reasonable doubt of mens rea, meaning intent. Thus you can’t accidentally criminal harassment someone, however you might be convicted on having been “reckless” about the conduct.

The offence requires proof that the alleged victim reasonably in all the circumstances feared for his or her safety or the safety of anyone known to them. Thus there is both a objective and subjective standard of fear required. So not knowing that the person fears this, not having been warned of that fear, or that fear not being reasonable for the normal person could all form part of a defence to a harassment charge.