[2002] NJ No 310 (NLPC)

In [2002] NJ No 310 (NLPC), Mr. G, a 41 year old taxi dispatcher, had been charged with entering a dwelling house without a lawful excuse, criminal harassment, harassing telephone calls, breach of probation, uttering threats, and breaching an undertaking. He sought an order to grant him judicial interim release, which was denied.

Ms. A had left her relationship with Mr. G because of physical and verbal abuse. Ms. A complained to the police about harassing phone calls Mr. G made to her. She was told to make a log of the calls and to come back to the police later. The court stated:

Providing such advice to complainants can only serve to discourage women who are or have been harassed by their spouses or boyfriends from complaining to the police and it must have been disheartening to [Ms. A] to have received such a reaction to her request for police assistance.

Women who are being harassed by their former partners or boyfriends should not have to conduct their own investigations. Instead, the police may wish to consider section 492.2 of the Criminal Code. It is important that the police realize that the provision of such advice can place women at risk. What commences as verbal harassment can quickly escalate into violence being inflicted upon complainants in such cases. Criminal harassment is a serious criminal offence and it should be treated accordingly. It is important to realize that if a “pattern of harassing conduct continues and is not properly dealt with…the result could be very serious physical and/or emotional harm to the victim” (R. v. Wall (1995), 136 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 200 (P.E.I. C.A.) , at page 203). In R. v. Denkers (1994), 69 O.A.C. 391 (Ont. C.A.), at page 394, the Ontario Court of Appeal stated:

This victim, and others like her, are entitled to break off romantic relationships. When they do so they are entitled to live their lives normally and safely. They are entitled to live their lives free of harassment by and fear of their former lovers. The law must do what it can to protect persons in those circumstances.[1]

Four days after Ms. A reported the calls to the police, Mr. G showed up drunk at her residence and entered the residence without permission. She asked him to leave and he refused, her nephew then told him to leave and he did. She called the police and reported the unwanted visit. The police then warned him to stop contacting Ms. A.

The court noted the potential danger in solely issuing warnings. It stated that these types of warnings “may suggest to certain offenders that the police are not taking the matter seriously and therefore it could cause the harassment to become worse.”[2]

The police took her statement at this time and she reported receiving 40-60 calls from Mr. G, that Mr. G followed her, assaulted her, and was constantly around her residence. The police then arrested Mr. G but he was released on an undertaking. The court stated:

Considering the circumstances of the offence, that [Mr. G] was subject to a probation order that arose out of his contact with a former girlfriend, [Mr. G’s] record for similar behaviour in the past and his having breached release orders on numerous occasions, releasing him in such a fashion creates the danger that [Mr. G] might conclude that the police did not consider his actions or [Ms. A’s] complaints to be serious. The undertaking required that [Mr. G] abstain from any contact with [Ms. A] and that he refrain from the consumption of alcohol.[3]

A month later Ms. A had to contact the police again. Mr. G had told a fellow employee that Mr. G would go to jail for killing Ms. A if the employee was dating her.

Mr. G’s application for judicial interim release was denied. The court stated that he was a danger to any woman who enters a relationship with him. Allowing him to be released would cause the public’s confidence in the administration of justice to be adversely affected.

[1] [2002] NJ No 310, (NLPC) at paras 5-6.
[2] [2002] NJ No 310, (NLPC) at para 8.
[3] [2002] NJ No 310, (NLPC) at para 10.


Criminal Offence(s): Harassing Communications