Uttering Threats

The offence of uttering threats is outlined at section 264.1(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of uttering threats when they utter, convey, or cause anyone to receive a threat:

  • to cause death or physical injury to someone;
  • to burn, destroy, or damage anyone’s property; or
  • to kill, poison, or injure someone’s pet.

Examples

Person A tells person B that they will burn person B’s house down during a heated argument.

Person C slips a note under person D’s door that says they will poison person D’s dog if person D does not stop it from barking at night.

Person E tells person F that if person F does not stop dating his daughter, person E will kill person F.

Cases

R. v. Berhane, 2020 ONCJ 574

In R. v. Berhane, the accused was convicted of one count of uttering threats for threatening to chop his ex-wife up into little pieces and cause further bodily harm to her after a heated conversation outside their child’s school.

R. v. A.B., 2007 CanLII 344 (ON SC)

In R. v. A.B., the accused was convicted of one count of uttering threats for threatening to kill a vice-principal of his high school by “doing another Columbine” after being suspended by the vice-principal.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

No Threat

Where the person does not utter, convey, or cause someone to receive any threat they have not completed the offence of uttering threats. For example, where person A burns down person B’s house but never threatened anyone that they would do this beforehand, they may not have completed the offence of uttering threats. They have, however, committed the offence of arson.

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