2012 ONCJ 835

In 2012 ONCJ 835, Mr. W threatened to disclose nude webcam images of his ex-girlfriend unless she had sex with him again. He initially met her on a videochat service called “Camfrog” when he was 18 and she was 15, and the two entered into a long-distance intimate relationship shortly after. Although they sometimes shared webcam videos, Mr. W never, in fact, recorded his ex-girlfriend’s nude images. He contacted her two years after the relationship ended threatening to disclose the images.

The Court considered whether extortion in these circumstances constituted a serious personal injury offence, thus barring a conditional sentence order. Because Mr. W threatened the victim with disclosure of intimate images and not with a weapon, the Court determined that he did not commit a serious personal injury offence, noting:

While abhorrent and clearly extortionate, the option – in the absence of the sex – to expose [the victim’s] naked images to public scrutiny to humiliate her, does not, in my view, amount to the use or attempted use of violence. The attempted compulsion that is at the heart of this particular offence does not, in my view, rise to the level of violence contemplated by the legislators.[1]

Mr. W told his ex-girlfriend that when they did have sex, it would be “rough and unenjoyable” for her and described in graphic detail what he planned to do to her.[2] The Crown argued that this amounted to an explicit threat of violence. The Court held that “the remarks concerning the “rough sex” were more in the nature of adolescent fantasizing, or even self-aggrandizing braggadocio, rather than threats to inflict violence upon her.”[3] However, she did note that “some threats will be considered to be acts of violence or attempted violence,”[4] even if this one did not,[5] and that the sexual intercourse would not have been considered consensual if it had occurred.[6]

The Court also noted that the victim met with a counselor after the offence, helping her to “put this incident into perspective.”[7] Finding that the victim took steps to mitigate her fear and humiliation, and noting that her victim impact statement did not describe fear, the Court stated that:

[the victim] indicates that she is less embarrassed and less fearful of the consequences of having reported [Mr. W] to the police. As a result of this information, I am satisfied that his conduct did not endanger the complainant’s life or safety, nor did it cause severe psychological damage to her.[8]

Ultimately, Mr. W pleaded guilty to and was convicted of extortion. He received a 15-months’ house arrest followed by 21-months’ of probation. He was also banned from watching or possessing pornography during his probation or possessing a device capable of accessing the internet without permission from his supervising officer. If permitted to have a device, his supervising officer was permitted to install blocking and tracking software on any devices and he was ordered to consent to the police from searching his device without prior judicial notice. The judge stated: “For greater clarity, you are to have no privacy interest in any device capable of accessing the internet for the term of this order.”[9] During his bail, he breached his bail conditions by possessing a cellphone with a camera.

[1] 2012 ONCJ 835 at para 28.
[2] 2012 ONCJ 835 at para 29.
[3] 2012 ONCJ 835 at para 29.
[4] 2012 ONCJ 835 at para 25.
[5] 2012 ONCJ 835 at para 25.
[6] 2012 ONCJ 835 at para 26.
[7] 2012 ONCJ 835 at para 32.
[8] 2012 ONCJ 835 at para 32.
[9] 2012 ONCJ 835 at para 43.


Criminal Offence(s): Extortion