2006 ABCA 295

2006 ABCA 295, is an early cyber-stalking and “revenge porn” case. Mr. B pleaded guilty to harassment, uttering threats to damage property, unlawfully entering a dwelling, and breaching bail orders. Mr. B used a keylogger to access his former girlfriend’s passwords, computer con-tents, and intimate images. He proceeded with an organized attack against her that included recruiting others to add to the harassment and continuing to harass Ms. B when he was in an-other country. As the Court writes, “[Mr. B] disrupted her life with a specific plan of making her pay. It was a mean act. It’s devastating…”[1] He engaged in harassing behaviour over an 8-month period and disregarded orders not to contact her following a conviction for uttering threats.

The Court contrasts B’s “extreme” cyber-stalking with “a more traditional form of harassment by phone calls, stalking, leaving things with full malice of forethought, that a person protects themselves by […] changing address, phone number, even hiring security people.” While, as the Court notes, those cases involve fear, “a measure of some relief of the fear can be possible, although not much.”[2] With attacks by electronic means, however, the Court “wonders where the end of the road is in our society today.”[3]

The Court calls cyber-stalking “a serious concern for the community”[4] and notes unauthorized access to Ms. B’s computer as an “intolerable breach”.[5] With regard to the non-consensual disclosure of the victim’s intimate photos, the Court stated:

It is a graphic lesson in life today that those practices which are those things that people do in intimate relationships that bring great joy and togetherness and intimacy in a relationship, proper relationship, can be perverted and abused in this. As a trial judge and a male I will say to [Ms. B], it happened. Try not to be embarrassed by it. One is better off if one can accept it in that fashion. This man is the abuser. You are not. And acting as a mature person in an intimate relationship is hardly anything to criticize of any human being in my opinion.[6]

The court held that Mr. B was not a good candidate for a conditional sentence because of his history of breaching court orders, his lack of accountability, his motivation for revenge, and his risk to the public.

Mr. B was sentenced to 20 months’ incarceration and three years of probation, additional orders including a prohibition from alcohol or drug use, a firearms prohibition for 10 years, no contact with the victim, her family and some other people and an order to keep distance from them and the University of Calgary. The court declined a prohibition on computer use.

Mr. B appealed his sentence of incarceration for 20 months and three years of probation. The appellate court held that Mr. B’s crime was a predatory one and the risk for public safety made a conditional sentence inappropriate and dismissed the appeal.

Also see: [2006] AJ No 965 (ABPC).

[1] [2006] AJ No 965 at para 18.
[2] [2006] AJ No 965 at para 18.
[3] [2006] AJ No 965 at para 18.
[4] [2006] AJ No 965 at para 1.
[5] [2006] AJ No 965 at para 23.
[6] [2006] AJ No 965 at para 26.


Criminal Offence(s): Criminal Harassment