The Charge

To maintain the integrity of the justice system, and ensure that those involved in it are protected by outside threats and pressure, Parliament has made it an offence to do anything with the intention of discouraging or impeding them in executing their duties.

This offence is treated extremely seriously by the police and prosecutors. It is also a complex charge, with many different elements which the Crown must prove. Therefore, you need the help of a Calgary Criminal Lawyer to ensure that your interests are protected at every stage of the case.

To be found guilty of this charge, the Crown must prove the following elements:

Doing any of the following:

  • using violence against, or destroying or damaging the property of, a journalist or a justice system participant, or threatening to do any of those things;
  • following a journalist, justice system participant or any person known to that journalist or justice system participant, including following them on a road in a disorderly fashion;
  • repeatedly communicating with a justice system participant or a journalist, including contact by e-mail, phone, or text; or
  • “stalking” the place where a journalist or justice system participant works, lives, goes to school, does business, or happens to be.
  • For the purpose of instilling fear in any of the following groups of people, for the following reasons:
    • o Members of the general public with the intention of impeding the administration of criminal justice;
    • o A participant in the justice system, in order to make the performance of his duties more difficult; or
    • o A journalist, in order to prevent him from distributing information to the public about a criminal organization.
  • The definition of “justice system participant” includes: politicians, lawyers, judges and justices, members or potential members of a jury, confidential informants, witnesses, peace officers or any members of a police force, and anyone employed in court administration.

Bail

You face an uphill battle when it comes to securing bail after being charged with intimidation of a justice participant. That’s why Calgary Criminal Lawyers should be your first call upon arrest.

One of the main factors a judge must consider in every decision regarding release is whether or not you will try to tamper with the witnesses or anyone else involved in your case. Since you are charged precisely with doing that, the prosecutor or police will almost always ask that you be detained pending your trial.

Calgary Criminal Lawyers can help neutralize the seriousness of the charge by presenting a compelling and accurate picture of you that will satisfy the judge that you will abide by the terms of your release and not tamper with the integrity of your case.

The Defence

Our defence starts with a thorough review of all the evidence the Crown has against you. We comb through every statement, document, and all other items, and will be able to identify any holes or weaknesses in the Crown’s case. We stack that up against your side of the story, and will present you with all the options available to you in your defence.

Our review may focus on some of the following issues:

  • Can the Crown prove that you committed the crime?
  • What was your intention in doing what you did?
  • Did you know the victim was a “justice system participant”?
  • Was any evidence against you obtained in a way that violated your constitutional rights?

The Sentence

The potential punishments for intimidating a justice system participant are extremely serious. The Criminal Code requires judges to emphasize “deterrence and denunciation” in cases involving intimidation of a justice participant; this virtually always translates into calls from the prosecutor for lengthy jail sentences.

The maximum potential jail sentence is 14 years. In addition, you face a ban on owning weapons for at least 10 years, and will be required to surrender a sample of your DNA to the government database.

Calgary Criminal Lawyers will work to ensure that you are represented vigorously at the sentencing hearing, and ensure that any punishment you receive reflects your positive qualities and goes absolutely no further than is necessary. In appropriate cases, we may be able to negotiate a plea to a less serious charge to help you avoid a conviction for this very serious crime.