A criminal charge that sometimes comes up in connection with domestic disputes is criminal harassment. In Ontario, a criminal harassment charge can be based on a number of types of repetitive, threatening conduct, including harassing emails, text messages or phone calls. Criminal harassment charges may also be based on allegations of stalking or uttering threats against a person or a person's family.
Serious, long-term consequences can result from a criminal harassment conviction. Depending on the facts of the individual case, penalties could range from a protection order to a prison sentence of up to 10 years. However, not everyone accused of criminal harassment is guilty. Sometimes these charges are based on false allegations, and a criminal defence attorney must investigate and present evidence proving the allegations are false.
Often a review of cellphone and computer records is necessary to show that the defendant is not guilty. Past fabrications by the complainant may also serve to disprove the complainant's credibility.
Just because a heated dispute between a defendant and a complainant has occurred does not necessarily mean that the defendant is guilty of criminal harassment. To convict a person on this charge, the prosecution must show that the defendant's actions would have caused any reasonable person to fear for his or her safety.
Lawyers at Neuberger & Partners LLC use a variety of resources, including private investigators, technology experts and witness interviews, to develop a comprehensive defence against allegations of criminal harassment. To learn more about our law practice, please visit our main criminal defence website.