Criminal harassment, according to Canadian law, basically constitutes different acts of stalking, such as repeated acts of watching, following and even harassing the victim. These acts generate unwanted attention from the person or persons who may later try to use force to attain an unwilling victim. As such, stalking is treated the same as criminal harassment. Stalking is not considered a psychiatric “disease”, but rather is used most of the time to control a former partner.
This particular offense does not need any outcome or course of action (such as theft, fraud or even murder) to be considered a crime. Rather, what is generally taken under scrutiny is that if the behavior has been repeated over time and if it has caused a reasonable amount of fear from the victims, although physical injury is not necessarily a requirement.
When charged with criminal harassment, evidence must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- the accused did perform the acts that constitute criminal harassment
- the accused was aware of how the complainant might perceive the behavior of the accused
- the complainant was genuinely afraid for their own safety or the safety of someone else they might know
- and that the fear experienced was reasonable and based upon the repeated behavior of the accused.
If the defense raises any reasonable doubt in any of these statements, an acquittal must be put in order.
The Criminal Harassment section of the Criminal Code was made generally to protect women, as 76% of the victims are usually women according to a sampling of 123 police forces in Canada made in 2002. 84% of the accused were male and sometimes a case may even have more than one accused. When found guilty of Criminal harassment, the punishment may be conviction of up to ten years in jail.
Criminal harassment is a hazy area under the Criminal Code and is therefore open to interpretation depending on the context of the situation and how and where the accused is being prosecuted. Even a first offence could result in a conviction if placed in the context of a prior history of abuse or violence. Being experienced trial lawyers, Kruse Law Office can successfully defend criminal harassment cases that would otherwise result in convictions.
If you are faced with a charge of criminal harassment, don’t limit your options. Contact Kruse Law Firm to obtain expert counsel and different valid defenses, according to your particular case. Don’t just give up and enter a guilty plea to a criminal harassment charge. The consequences may be very serious and effect you for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with Criminal Harassment, your first phone call should be 1-800-699-0806.