Learn the facts about how to have someone charged with harassment in Ontario from an experienced criminal lawyer, Alex De Boyrie.
Harassment is a serious issue, and if you have been a victim of harassment in Ontario, it is important to know how to take action against the perpetrator. This article will cover the steps to have someone charged with harassment in Ontario, as well as the potential penalties that the accused may face. If you are looking for legal advice regarding a harassment charge, it is important to speak to a criminal lawyer in Toronto who specializes in this area of law.
What is Harassment?
Before we dive into the process of charging someone with harassment in Ontario, it is important to understand what harassment is. Harassment is defined as any unwanted behavior that offends, humiliates, or intimidates an individual. This behavior can be physical, verbal, or written, and can occur in person or online.
Examples of harassment can include:
- Repeated phone calls or text messages
- Unwanted physical contact, such as touching or hugging
- Stalking or following someone
- Sending threatening emails or messages
- Making unwanted sexual advances or comments
Harassment can have a serious impact on the victim’s mental health and wellbeing, and it is important to take action if you are being harassed or if you witness someone else being harassed.
How to Charge Someone with Harassment in Ontario
If you have been a victim of harassment in Ontario, or if you have witnessed someone else being harassed, there are steps that you can take to have the perpetrator charged with harassment.
Document the Harassment
The first step in charging someone with harassment is to document the behaviour. This can include keeping a log of all incidents of harassment, including the date, time, location, and any witnesses who were present. It is also important to keep any physical evidence, such as threatening messages or emails.
Contact the Police
Once you have documented the harassment, you should contact the police. The police will take a report of the harassment and may investigate the matter further. It is important to provide the police with as much information as possible, including any documentation or physical evidence that you have gathered.
Apply for a Peace Bond
If you are in fear for your safety as a result of the harassment, you may be able to apply for a peace bond. A peace bond is a court order that requires the accused to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. If the accused breaches the peace bond, they can be charged with a criminal offence. To apply for a peace bond, you will need to go to a courthouse and speak to a justice of the peace.
If the police investigation uncovers evidence of harassment, you may be able to have police press charges against the accused. To have charges laid, you will need to work with the police and provide evidence to the Crown prosecutor. The Crown prosecutor will review the evidence and decide whether or not to proceed with the charges.
Potential Penalties for Harassment in Ontario
If someone is charged with harassment in Ontario, they may face a range of penalties, depending on the severity of the offence and any aggravating factors. The penalties for harassment can include fines, probation, community service, and even jail time.
In Ontario, the maximum penalty for harassment is two years in jail, and the accused may also be required to attend counselling or other forms of rehabilitation. Additionally, a conviction for harassment can have serious long-term consequences, including difficulty finding employment and damage to the accused’s reputation.
Defences to Harassment Charges
If you are facing charges of harassment in Ontario, it is important to speak to a criminal lawyer in Toronto who can advise you on the best defence strategy. Some common defences to harassment charges include:
- Consent – if the victim consented to the behavior, this may be a defense to harassment charges.
- Mistaken Belief – if the accused reasonably believed that their behavior was not unwanted, this may be a defense.
- Freedom of Expression – if the accused’s behavior was protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, such as freedom of expression, this may be a defense.
It is important to note that every case is different, and the defence strategy will depend on the specific facts of the case.
Harassment is a serious issue that can have a significant impact on the victim’s mental health and wellbeing. If you have been a victim of harassment in Ontario, it is important to take action by documenting the behaviour, contacting the police, and potentially having charges pressed against the perpetrator. Additionally, if you are facing harassment charges, it is important to speak to a criminal lawyer in Toronto who can advise you on the best defence strategy.
Remember, harassment is never acceptable, and it is important to take a stand against this behaviour. By speaking out and taking action, we can help to create a safer and more respectful community for everyone.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offence, contact De Boyrie Law today for a free consultation. If your matter is immediate please contact us at (416) 727-1389. De Boyrie Law serves Toronto, and the Greater Toronto Area.
Alex De Boyrie is an experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer covering Toronto, and the Greater Toronto Area.