SELECTED CASE LAW
In 2002 ABQB 862, Ms. M was found guilty repeatedly calling Mr. M and stealing his mail, but was acquitted of theft. Mr. M began receiving nuisance phone calls at his home and place of business. He and his employees began making a record of the calls. Among hundreds of calls, 94 were hang up calls, and some were pornographic in nature. Mr. M answered the calls and some of Mr. M’s employers answered some of the calls. Telus was able to trace the calls back to three phone numbers associated with Ms. M. Additionally, mail from Mr. M’s business went missing and then was later returned, one package was opened and human feces were found in it. Ms. M’s vehicle had reportedly been spotted near the mail box, but there was no other evidence that Ms. M had taken the mail.
The court noted that typically the harassing communication has to be received by the intended target but also noted that there is jurisprudence that finds the particular target does not have to be the recipient of the calls. In this case it was sufficient that the calls had been intended to annoy Mr. M, even though some of his employees answered the calls. The court also held that harassment is synonymous with annoyance and the number of calls were sufficient to annoy Mr. M.
Ms. M was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and $700 in fines. She appealed both the conviction and the sentence. The appeal was dismissed on the charge of harassing calls but was al-lowed on the conviction of the mail theft, due to the lack of evidence that Ms. M had tampered with the mail, which could go to a new trial. The court maintained the sentence of 12 months’ probation and the $500 fine.
Criminal Offence(s): Harassing Communications