Criminal Harassment Lawyer in Winnipeg
What is Criminal Harassment?
For a Crown Attorney to establish a criminal harassment charge, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused engaged in harassing behavior, that the accused knew or was reckless as to how the complainant would perceive their conduct, the complainant must fear for his or her safety, and the fear experienced was reasonable in the circumstances.
Behaviour considered criminal harassment include:
• repeatedly following someone from place to place;
• repeatedly communicating with another person, directly or indirectly;
• watching or besetting someone’s place home, workplace other location they happen to be; and,
• threatening conduct towards any person or any member of their family.
Obtaining Bail when Charged with Criminal Harassment
If you are charged with criminal harassment, it can be very difficult to obtain bail. The Court will be concerned about allegations of stalking from a public safety perspective. This is due to stalking behaviour often leading to more serious violent offence, such as assault. When the allegation arise in the context of a domestic relationship, it’s viewed as domestic violence. These cases are taken even more seriously by the Crown Attorney and the Courts.
The bail judge will consider the danger posed by the accused to the complaint by examining the nature of the harassing conduct, the number of occurrences, and whether the behaviour is escalating. While not deciding guilt or innocence, the judge will only release the accused if satisfied the plan addresses the safety concerns of the complainant. A successful bail plan will minimize a judge’s worries and may include strict curfew conditions, and/or GPS ankle-monitoring.
Sentencing for Criminal Harassment Charge
A person convicted of criminal harassment may end up with a criminal record, fines, probation, and in some circumstances up to 10 years in jail. If placed on probation, in almost all cases the Court will order the offender to have no contact or communication with the victim. The offender may also be required to complete counselling.
Defending Criminal Harassment Charge
Many cases of criminal harassment are simply a misunderstanding or miscommunication between parties. Where one individual perceives the behaviour as harassment, the other may see it as an attempt to reconcile a relationship, find closure, or clarify childcare issues.
An effective cross examination can call into question the credibility of the complainant, raising reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt on any of the required elements of the offence, the Court must acquit the accused. A common strategy is to show that the accused was acting reasonably in the circumstances of their case.
The Criminal Code also provides the harassment must be without “lawful authority”. Therefore, if someone has a lawful reason to contact another person, they would not be guilty of criminal harassment. For example, the enforcement of a family court order for child access and visitation.
Related Criminal Harassment Topics
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