Criminal harassment

If a cop knows all of the conditions needed to prove a guilty criminal harassment charge are not met can you still be arrested and chargedWould having a person admit they didnt fear for their safety enough to win a criminal harassment case?If found not guilty could you use the non guilty as a defense for a breach of undertaking. Stating that you should of not been charged in first place.

Asked 8 months ago in Barrie, Ontario
Categories: Criminal Law

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Andrew Captan

Answer by Andrew Captan

Not VerifiedOntario lawyer


The "standard" of evidence required by police to lay a criminal charge is "reasonable grounds", which isn't an exceedingly high standard.  

One of the elements of criminal harassment is that there was both a subjective fear on the part of the complainant, and that such fear was objectively reasonable in the circumstances.  If a complainant testifies that s/he did not have any fear for their safety (including psychological safety), and a judge believes that they are being honest about that, then one of the elements of the offence would not be proven.

A breach of undertaking charge is a separate charge, on which individuals can still be found guilty even if the primary charge is one that they are acquitted of.  However, it will always depend on the exact breach being alleged.  For example, if the condition allegedly violated was a a contact restriction, and through the evidence at trial it was found that there was contact that occurred, then the accused would likely be found guilty, assuming any other legal arguments made are not successful. 

Andrew Captan
Toronto Criminal Lawyer

Posted 8 months ago

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact Andrew Captan, or search the Lawyer Directory.

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