SELECTED CASE LAW
In 2003 BCPC 293, Mr. K was charged with criminal harassment, harassing phone calls and assault. He was convicted of the two harassment charges but was acquitted of the assault. Ms. K had been living with Mr. K. She testified that their relationship was volatile and included shoving matches. She claimed he threatened to kill her and her child with a gun. Mr. K admitted that he said that “nothing would give him more pleasure than to see her dead on a cold slab of cement” which Ms. K interpreted as a threat to her physical safety, but Mr. K claimed was reference to her dying from addiction issues. He denied threatening to kill her and her son the with a gun.
After a dispute with Mr. K, Ms. K went to stay with her mother and Mr. K called the house persistently. Her mother told Mr. K to stop calling or she would call the police. He continued to call the house and leave derogatory messages. Ms. K met Mr. K in a park to discuss their son and to pick up items for her son. The police became involved and noted 24 calls from Mr. K in a 3-4 hour period at 3-5 minute intervals.
The court held that there were repeated calls to Ms. K at her mother’s home, but that Ms. K was not harassed because she did not stop all contact with the accused. It noted that “Ms. K actively participated in these telephone calls from the accused. Ms. Ms. K. continued to discuss matters with the accused and engaged in arguments with him over the telephone. She was concerned about the accused because he had threatened suicide and, for this reason, felt she could not just hang up on him every time he called.”
The court did find that Ms. K’s mother was harassed. She called the police and repeatedly asked Mr. K to stop calling her home. However, because the calls were intended to harass Ms. K, not her mother, the mens rea required for the offence was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mr. K was convicted of uttering threats due to the “cold slab” comment, but was acquitted of assault based on insufficient evidence and acquitted of the harassing phone calls as the mens rea element was not met.
 2003 BCPC 293 at paras 63-64.
Criminal Offence(s): Harassing Communications