Remember when former Sens captain Erik Karlssen was linked to a harassment case between his wife Melinda and Matt Hoffman’s long-term partner Monica Caryk? Criminal harassment cases aren’t always as public, but they can be as disruptive to your life as that case may have been to the Sens.
What Can You Expect?
You may have a report of criminal harassment made against you without even knowing it’s happened. That said, the chances are you will be made aware the report has been made. A person who feels harassed can contact the police and report the actions that are making them feel this way. A complainant primarily needs to be able to identify the person who is harassing them. They also need to explain how that harassment is making them feel.
If the police decide not to lay charges, the complainant can still go to a court or justice of the peace and request a peace bond be issued. Peace bonds are time limited restraining orders that can have various stipulations, including abstention from alcohol or avoiding telecommunications. This makes receiving a peace bond a potentially life-disrupting event. Peace bonds can also show up on Vulnerable Sector police checks.
Obviously, it’s important to understand what does and does not count as harassment.
Criminal harassment falls under a specific subsection of the code. The most common actions leading to a charge are repeated communications, threatening conduct towards, or following the complainant. Watching and besetting, or being in the vicinity of the place of work or home of the complainant or those close to them, is more rare. Despite its rarity, it can sometimes lead to a criminal harassment charge.
Criminal harassment often occurs in breakups where one side feels there is still a chance to get back together and continues to contact the other side with language to that effect. You can easily make someone feel harassed without realizing you are doing it. Always try to keep the impact your actions may have on other people in mind.
Digital Criminal Harassment
While the harassing telecommunications section of the criminal code can sometimes cover harassment on digital platforms, there is no specific section which speaks to this modern phenomenon. The requirement to be able to identify the harasser makes laying a charge of criminal harassment on digital platforms harder. However, difficult does not mean impossible. Charges can and have been made in the past.
How Does This Affect You?
Being named in a report of criminal harassment can be upsetting–being charged much more so. But the risk of being served with a peace bond even if you aren’t charged makes being named in a report a particularly difficult situation. Avoid harassing behaviour wherever possible. If you are concerned that someone may interpret your actions as harassing, be sure to check in with them.
Think you might be charged with criminal harassment? Armoured Suits offers a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation with no obligation to hire. We can explain the process if you are charged and how you should handle it. Contact Armoured Suits by phone at 613-233-0008 or e-mail at [email protected] to book your meeting.