R. v. A.A.K.
R. v. A.A.K.
(Calgary, P.C. - Criminal Harassment). AAK was charged with criminal harassment in relation to a former intimate partner. Criminal harassment is becoming one of the more commonly charged criminal offences; and in this criminal defence lawyer's opinion, an offence that is charged too often and without legal merit.
For a harassment to be "criminal" requires more than mere annoyance. Also, it is not unusual for police to charge criminal harassment for communications such as long-string text messaging, without meaningfully considering common texting behaviours, such as sending multiple texts to communicate a single thought.
In AAK's case, there were claims of mass texting and following. Unfortunately for AAK the issue was complicated because the accused was charged by way of multiple informations, with an allegation of committing a new offence while on bail (released on a prior charge).
AAK ultimately pled guilty. The Prosecution sought a criminal record sentence that involved probation. The defence applied for a "conditional discharge". Conditional discharge is an available setnencing option recognized in the Criminal Code of Canada. To successfully obtain a discharge, the court must determine whether the discharge is (1) in the accused's interest and (2) not contrary to the pubic interest. It is the second part of the test that can be most challenging.
There are several factors that the court will consider before granting a discharge. For example: the prevalence of the offence; whether there was violence; the gravity of the offence; whether the offence was committed for personal gain and whether the accused's actions were impulsive.
After a contested sentencing hearing, the judge granted AAK a conditional discharge.
David Chow is a Calgary criminal lawyer who will consider all available options in a case, including discharge. David routinely defends criminal harassment cases.