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Welcome to - The Legal Implications


Legal Implications of Violence:

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, an assault occurs when a person intentionally and without the other person's consent:

  • applies force to that other person, either directly or indirectly;
  • tries to or threatens to do harm to another person; or
  • stops or begs from another person while openly wearing a weapon or something that looks like a weapon.

If the victim consents, the consent is not valid if the consent was obtained through violence against the victim, threats of violence, fraud or because the person committing the assault is in a position of authority over the victim.

An assault is even more serious if a person uses a weapon or threatens to use a weapon in committing the assault, if he/she causes physical harm to the victim, or if he/she endangers the victim's life.

A person can be charged with uttering threats if he/she communicates a threat to another person to kill or harm the other person, to destroy the victim's property or to hurt or kill that person's pet. That communication can be directly to the victim or indirectly through a third party, and can be communicated verbally, in writing, by email or on the Internet, or any other way in which the person sending the threat would believe that the victim would receive it.

"Criminal harassment" is when a person engages in conduct that makes another person believe his or her safety, or that of another person known to them, is in jeopardy. It can include following or stalking a person, contacting the person repeatedly by phone, letter, email or any other way, watching their house, school, workplace or any other place they happen to be, or acting in a threatening way.

Intimidation is when a person stops another person from doing something he/she is lawfully entitled to do, or to force the person to do something that he/she is not lawfully entitled to do. Intimidation can be through violence or threats against the person or his/her family, following the person, hiding or in some other way depriving the person of his/her personal belongings, following the person in a dangerous manner on a highway or blocking a highway, or watching the person's home, place of business, school or another place that he/she happens to be.

It is a criminal offence, known as "common nuisance", when a person does something or fails to do something and the lives, health or safety of the public is endangered, or physical injury is caused to another person.

It is a criminal offence to make statements in a public place that incite hatred against a group of people based on their colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation, where the statements are likely to lead to a breach of the peace.

Mischief is when someone deliberately destroys or damages property, or in any way prevents other people from lawfully enjoying the use of that property. "Property" includes data. The offence is considered to be more serious if the value of the property is greater than $5000.00.

Homicide, or murder, is when a person causes the death of another person, directly or indirectly through negligence, by causing another person to do anything that causes his or her death, or knowingly frightening another person, such as a child or an older person and causing his/her death. First degree murder is when the murder is planned and deliberate, or when it is committed while sexually assaulting another person or while kidnapping or unlawfully confining another person. The minimum sentence for murder is life in prison.

Attempted Murder is also an offence, even if the victim does not die. The minimum sentence is life in prison.

A person who exposes him/herself for a sexual purpose to a person under age fourteen is guilty of a criminal offence. It is also a criminal offence to commit any type of indecent act in a public place, or in any place where it is intended to insult or offend another person.

Sexual assault is when a person forces sexual activity, including kissing, touching, sexual intercourse etc., on another person, without the other person's consent. A sexual assault is even more serious if the person committing the assault uses a weapon or a firearm, threatens a third party, causes physical harm to the victim, or endangers the life of the victim.

Consent is not valid when a person other than the victim agrees to the sexual activity, when the victim is incapable of agreeing, where the person committing the assault is in a position of authority over the victim, where the victim expressly says he/she does not want to engage in the sexual activity, or where the victim changes his/her mind about continuing after the activity has begun.

Sexual interference is when a person touches another person who is younger than fourteen, with any part of his/her body or with another object for a sexual purpose. It is also an offence for a person to invite, encourage or incite a person younger than fourteen to touch his/her body.

Sexual exploitation is when a person in authority commits any of the above sexual offences against a young person, or when a person in authority touches a person with a mental or physical disability or invites or encourages that person to touch him/her.

Kidnapping and forcible confinement is when a person causes another person to be confined or imprisoned without his/her consent. The fact that the person did not resist is not a defence if the compliance was due to threats, duress, force or show of force.

When imposing a sentence, a court will take increase the sentence where it is shown that the person who committed the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor.

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