R. v. T.P.

(403) 452-8018

R. v. T.P.

(Calgary, P.C. - Harassment and Breach). TP was charged with criminal harassment and breaching bail conditions in relation to allegations violating an area restriction and following the complainant. The principles of criminal law require the Prosecutor to prove its case "beyond a reasonable doubt".  Though proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not require proof to an absolute certainty, it demands proof of something much closer to absolute certainty than proof on the balance of probabilities. "Balance of probabilities" can be thought of as "more likely than not" or numerically as 50% + 1. This means that proving a case "beyond a reasonable doubt" -- to a standard much closer to 100% than 50% +1, is obviously much more onerous and thus requires the Crown to closely scrutinize its evidence.

In TP's circumstances, the Prosecution was of the view that it had a reasonable prospect of conviction while at the same time acknowledging weaknesses in its case.  In light of the serious weaknesses, the accused was well positioned to enter a plea of "not guilty" and to set the case for trial. However, there are other considerations for the Defence and the accused to consider beyond mere strength of the case prior to testing evidence at trial. 

At the forefront of every accused's mind are legal costs. Trials are expensive. Also, a good criminal defence lawyer will always remind his or her client that notwithstanding apparent strengths in the defence case, there are no guarantees. Indeed, trials are uncertain  and in the opinion of this Calgary defence lawyer, wrongful convictions occur.  Canada's criminal justice system is far from perfect. 

Taking into account the issues with its case, the Prosecutor offered to resolve by way of a Peace Bond. Not wishing to the risk of trial or to spend money on trial fees, TP agreed to the resolution. Peace bond is often a favourable resolution offer that results in the withdrawal of the charges. TP avoided a criminal record.

David Chow has been a full time practicing criminal defence lawyer in Calgary who has routinely handled criminal harassment, breach and domestic violence cases since 2005. Prior to joining the defence bar in 2005, David Chow was a Crown Prosecutor.  David has been appearing in criminal law courts since 1999.