The offence of extortion is outlined in section 346(1) of the Criminal Code.
A person commits the offence of extortion when, with the intention to obtain anything, they threaten, accuse, menace, violently induce, or attempt to induce someone into doing anything or causing anything to be done.
A threat to sue someone is not considered a threat under this offence.
Person A threatens to kill person B if person C does not pay person A.
Person D threatens to falsely accuse person E of sexual assault if person E does not send person D nude images of themselves.
Person F threatens to post negative information about person G online if person G does not pay person F $10,000.00.
R. v. Gigliotti, 2012 ONSC 1603
In R. v. Gigliotti, the accused was convicted of one count of extortion for threatening to call the police on his employee, who he found stealing a bottle of vodka, if she did not engage in sexual activity with him despite her not consenting to this sexual activity.
R. v. A.K., 2012 ONSC 5245
In R. v. A.K., the accused was convicted of three counts of extortion against three of his prior employees for threatening to call the police on them unless they returned large sums of money that they had allegedly stolen from him, even though none of these employees had actually stolen any money from the accused.
Offence Specific Defence(s)
Reasonable Justification / Legal Excuse
Where the individual is justified in making a demand for money and threatens to call police if they are not paid, they have not committed the offence of extortion.
For example, where person A steals money from person B, and person B demands the money back and threatens to call the police, they have not committed extortion.
No Intent to Obtain Anything
Where the person is making threats, accusing, menacing, or inducing the other without the intention of obtaining anything from them, they may not have completed the offence of extortion.
For example, if person A threatens person B out of anger and not out of a desire to get anything from person B or anyone else, person A may not have completed the offence of extortion. Person A may, however, have committed another criminal offence.
No Threat, Accusation, Menace, Inducement, or Attempted Inducement
Where the person does not make any threats, accusations, menaces, violent inducements, or attempted inducements directed at getting someone to do something or cause something to be done, the person has not completed the offence of extortion.
For example, if person A simply threatens to kill person B because they are mad at person B and they don’t want person B to do anything or cause anything to be done, person A has not completed the offence of extortion.