I’ve been charged with Criminal Harassment. What do I need to know?

4. Figure out if you have a defence

You can defend yourself in a criminal by showing:

  • the Crown has not proven all of the elements of the crime
  • your situation fits into a legal defence in the Criminal Code
  • your Charter rights were violated

For a of Harassment, you may also have a defence if:

  • It was not reasonable for the person to be scared. For example, you send a non-threatening letter in the mail and they don't respond, so you send just one more non-threatening letter in the mail.
     
  •  You honestly did not know that the other person felt harassed by your actions or that the person wanted you to stop. For example, you have been sending text messages to someone about something in the news, and each time you send a message they respond with “Thank you for sending this.”

Think about what you can use to present your defence. Evidence might include:

  • documents, such as copies of your emails, texts, or letters
  • photos or videos
  • witnesses who saw the incident
  • telling your version of the story in court

Charter violations

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms says that you have certain rights when you're dealing with government. The government includes the police, the Crown, and the courts. For example, the police must:

  • not search you in an unreasonable way
  • not use excessive force against you
  • not or you without a good reason
  • help you contact a lawyer if want one
  • explain why you're or

If any of your Charter rights are violated, the judge can throw out certain evidence in your case. In some situations, the judge may even dismiss your charges completely, for example, if it takes too long to give you a trial.

It can be legally complicated to discover Charter violations and know how to present them in court. It's best to talk to a lawyer before your trial to find out if there are Charter issues and how to deal with them.

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