Canadian Criminal Law/Offences/Criminal Harassment

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Criminal Harassment
s. 264 of the Crim. Code
Election / Plea
Crown Election Hybrid
Jurisdiction Prov. Court
SC Judge + PI (I)
SC Jury + PI (I) (536(2))
Summary Dispositions
Avail. Disp. Discharge (730)

Suspended Sentence (731(1)(a))
Fine (734)
Fine + Probation (731(1)(b))
Jail (718.3, 787)
Jail + Probation (731(1)(b))
Jail + Fine (734)

Conditional Sentence (742.1)
Maximum 6 months jail or $5,000 fine (s.787(1))
Indictable Dispositions
Avail. Disp. same as summary
Maximum 10 years jail
Offence Elements
Sentence Principles
Sentence Digests

Legislation[edit | edit source]

Criminal harassment
264. (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.

Prohibited conduct
(2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of

(a) repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them;
(b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them;
(c) besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or
(d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.


Proof of Offence[edit | edit source]

The Crown must establish the essential elements of the offence:[1]

  1. identity of accused
  2. date and time of incident
  3. jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
  4. the accused has engaged in the conduct set out in s. 264(2)(a), (b), (c) or (d) of the Criminal Code;
  5. the complainant was harassed by the conduct.
  6. the accused, who engaged in such conduct, knew that the complainant was harassed or was reckless or wilfully blind as to whether the complainant was harassed;
  7. the conduct caused the complainant to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them; and
  8. the complainant’s fear was, in all the circumstances, reasonable. [2]
  1. R. v. Coppola, 2007 ONCJ 184
    R. v. Sillipp, 1997 ABCA 346 at 18
    R. v. Sanchez, 2012 BCCA 469 (CanLII)
  2. See R. v. Kosikar, 1999 CanLII 3775 (ON CA), 138 C.C.C. (3d) 217 (Ont. C.A.) at para. 19

Interpretation[edit | edit source]

There is no requirement to prove the mens rea of the offence where it can be inferred from the facts.[1]

Safety extends beyond simply fear of physical harm but also includes psychological and emotional security.[2]

See Also: R. v. Wisniewska, 2011 ONSC 6452 [1]

  1. R. v. Holmes [2008] O.J. No. 3415 (C.A.)
  2. R. v. Gowing, [1994] O.J. No. 2743 (Gen.Div.) at para 5 (aff’d on appeal Gowing, [1998] O.J. No. 90)