Intimidation of a Justice System Participant or Journalist

Intimidation of a Justice System Participant or Journalist

The offence of intimidation of a justice system participant or journalist is outlined in section 423.1(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of intimidation of a justice system participant or journalist when they do anything to scare a justice system participant to stop them from performing their professional duties, when they do anything to scare a journalist to stop them from sharing information about a criminal organization, or when they do anything to scare a group of persons, including the general public, to stop the administration of criminal justice.

Examples

Person A kidnaps person B’s dog to prevent person B, a journalist, from publishing a story naming the leaders and home addresses of a local human trafficking gang.

Person C lights person D’s car on fire to prevent person D, a Crown prosecutor, from going to work.

Person E, who is on trial for murder, threatens to harm all members of the jury and people observing the trial if person E is found guilty.

Cases

R. v. Blackman, 2022 ONSC 2735

In R. v. Blackman, the accused was charged with one count of intimidation of a justice system participant when he made three posts on Instagram threatening and revealing the identity of an undercover officer that had been investigating the accused.

R. v. Horton, 2014 ONCA 616 

In R. v. Horton, the accused was convicted of one count of intimidation of a justice system participant when, during a protest of the 2010 G20 summit, he delivered two kicks to the passenger side window of a police car occupied by a uniformed officer in the driver’s seat.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Other Reason

Where the person is scaring the justice system participant, journalist, or group of persons for a reason other than those listed, they may not have completed the offence of intimidation of a justice system participant or journalist.

For example, if person A is an employee of a haunted house and jumps out from behind a wall to scare person B, who happens to be a journalist, as part of the haunted house experience that person B paid for, then person A has not completed the offence of intimidation of a justice system participant or journalist.

If person A punches the wall in a courthouse, not to scare the judge but to express anger, then, even if the judge got scared by these actions, person A may not have completed the offence of intimidation of a justice system participant or journalist.

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