I want to talk to you today about how to get criminal harassment charges dropped. Our firm represents a lot of people charged with criminal harassment and this is one of the first questions they ask us often is how do I get these charges dropped? Well that’s a that’s an important and vexing question I’m going to answer that for you today. So the first thing we do when you retain us is we’re going to order the police reports that’s the disclosure all of the witness statements the videos every scrap of evidence to police gathered against you, they’re going to hand that to the crown attorney who’s eventually going to provide us with a copy of everything including the video statements. As a lawyer my first job is to analyze that in great detail and figure out every aspect of your case like what what’s my legal opinion with what this case what are the strengths of the case for the crown the weaknesses, can I win this case? What are the odds of winning where what parameters isn’t falling as an easy case to win? Is it you know, better than 5050 It’s pretty good. I think we can win a 5050 doesn’t look too good. This client’s guilty it’s obvious there’s eight witnesses showing their harasser staka a woman or a man or woman started man for that matter. So once we have that I can literally formulate an opinion in my mind about the case and I say tentative I want to hear the client’s version of this before I finalized that opinion. So you know after reviewing that disclosure probably for several hours and looking up any law if it’s a tricky legal issue because harassment can be tricky I mean some things fall between the cracks and there’s a lot of case law about it I’m constantly studying the case law and applying it to cases but but many cases are cut and dry either it’s winnable or not but there’s there’s ones in the gray area where you need to really delve into the case law hundreds of cases across Canada that you need to read on this topic it’s important to have a good lawyer when you handle one of these cases. So I formulate my tentative opinion now I’m ready to meet with the client so I meet with the client and I review the disclosure with them and I received their version events that’s the very first meeting with them that’s where I get their full version of events. Once I have their version met I can tell them look I think you’ve got a good case to win I’m thinking that’s pretty good case when it’s 5050 it’s well it’s difficult we might win if we get lucky or this is a slam dunk crown case you should get the best deal you can I received their instructions What do you want to do? Like do you want me to negotiate the best deal Do you want to tend to go towards trial you know I need the client’s instructions before I meet with the crowd and those instructions may be look I’ve got a winning case here and I’m going to tell them I’m going to go try and get this charges dropped or or a great deal like a diversion or a peace bond or something like that. So they say great and I said by the way I need to get your background because that’s important that backgrounds mitigating in other words it lessens the you know the possible sentence or increases your odds of getting charges dropped if you’ve got a great prior background look you’ve got no criminal record you’re doing community service all the time you’re a very you know great person in the community well thought of this was a one time minor incident you know that happened okay view you got drunk one night and then stopped a person repeatedly or something it’s just a one time is set where you did some stupidity or not. Maybe you’re innocent. So you you give me those instructions and armed I go with all your background, my thoughts in the file and I meet with the crown prosecutor at a crown pre trial. Now my goal there if I think number one is a reasonable prospect conviction, that’s the test if it’s a weak weak case, why should the prosecutor continue with it I will try to convince him to simply drop the case and I’ve gotten cases dropped many many times throughout my career like I wouldn’t even want to count how many criminal Ross’s have had dropped. Because when you look at an on paper, they don’t have much of a case the police made a mistake by charging police for too cautious a lawyer is only a charge let the crowds hurt while the crowd should withdraw the case flatly in that no reasonable prospect question. That’s the first step okay. If there is a reasonable prospect of conviction, and the criminal harassment is not terrible, I mean, it’s not the most fearful stocking incident for months and months where a person’s cowering and care but a more minor incident a few times I mean, the victims recovered you know, any any harassments not good but a minor incident. We can sometimes convince the crown to divert the charge called call it what you will different counties called different things diversion alternative measures, which means maybe we get some upfront counseling the crown says we get some upfront counseling you know, you’ve convinced me Mike That this is a case for diversion up front Cal saying do our good deeds up front and, you know, get a report from the calendar, this is a one time thing and that person’s not a danger rest of the community and going forward. cradled Erie to diversion. So they might agree to a peace bond. You know, where you keep the peace and can be of good behavior and stay away from the victim for a period of year. So that’s a good result. If a person actually did it, if they’re guilty, that that’s a wonderful result, you have no criminal record. There’s mental health diversion as well, where there’s mental health courts in most counties, if not all counties now where if there’s a mental health issue, we can often get these charges withdrawn me the person is just, you know, not has a lot of mental health issues. And that led to the alleged crime. And again, the charge hopefully gets withdrawn with counseling and treatment and maybe a peace bond and that sort of thing. Now, what’s another decent result if we can’t get that, let’s say, you know what, the crowds not playing ball because the the stalking the harassment, the repeated phone calls the endless criminal behavior, which causes such tremendous fear just as too serious. Maybe the crowd will agree and I can convince you to agree to a conditional discharge where you plead guilty to the charge, the harassing charge, because of your good background is in your best interest. And not contrary to the public interest, which is the test for conditional discharge, that you be discharged on conditions. That means you plead guilty, but you’re not convicted, you don’t receive a criminal record. However, the judge puts you on probation for 12 to 36 months, usually 12, sometimes 36. In a more serious case, though, to continue with counseling perhaps and not to communicate associate there be a weapons condition. But the beauty of that is, look, it’s a more serious offense, it’s a good result, you avoided a record and that records get eventually not a periodic criminal record check. It will initially our level two check on level one check it shouldn’t, according to criminal records Reform Act of 2018. But eventually that will but it’s not a criminal record, though kept confused with it just appearing on level two check. A Level One check is a basic criminal record check it shouldn’t show up a level two checked is a criminal record check and a judicial matters check Well, it’s considered a judicial matter. But after three years, you’ll be able to get your your fingerprints destroyed your file destroyed your mug shots, it will be on any level of criminal record check even a level three which is for more vulnerable sector if you’re a teacher or things like that. So that’s often a great result for a person who, you know, got charged for the harassment and they’re actually guilty. So those are the three ways to get you know, the three types of circumstances where we can get a matter drop, it requires a lot of negotiation. Thinking requires a lot of thinking by the lawyer how to phrase things properly and both in writing and in meetings with the crowd to mitigate the circumstances, the facts and the background to get the best possible result for the client.