It is a criminal offence to utter, convey or cause a person to receive a death threat, or a threat of bodily harm, according to s. 264.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
What Does “Bodily Harm” Mean?
“Bodily harm” is defined under s. 2 of the Code as “any hurt or injury to a person that interferes with the health or comfort of the person and that is more than merely transient or trifling in nature.”
What Must the Crown Prove for This Offence?
The leading case on the elements of this offence is R v McRae, 2013 SCC 68.
The Crown must prove that (a) a threat of death or bodily harm was made, and (b) that the words were expressed as a threat with the intent to intimidate or to be taken seriously. The accused need not intend to carry out the threat to be found guilty. In order to determine what was going through the accused’s mind when making the alleged threat, a court will often have to draw reasonable inferences from the words and the circumstances, including how the words were perceived by those hearing them.
Is It Required That the Intended Recipient Know About The Threat?
The Crown does not have to prove that the intended recipient of the threat was made aware of it. Nor does the Crown have to prove that the intended recipient was intimidated by it or took it seriously. The focus is on the words spoken by the accused and the intent of the accused when speaking said words. Furthermore, the words need not be directed to a specific person; a threat against a group of people is sufficient.
Defending Threatening Bodily Harm and Death Charges
Defending these charges often involves issues including:
(1) Whether the accused actually made a threat. In this context, the credibility of the complainant could be at issue;
(2) Whether the threat was in relation to the death or bodily harm of the complainant; and
(3) Whether the threat was intended to intimidate or to be taken seriously.
For a free legal consultation with respect to your Threatening Bodily Harm or Death charges, contacted an experienced Criminal Lawyer today at (647) 878 – 6355.