False, Indecent, and Harassing Information

False, Indecent, and Harassing Information

The offences of false information and indecent and harassing communication are outlined in sections 372(1) to 372(3) of the Criminal Code.

False Information

A person commits the offence of false information when, intending to harm or alarm someone, they cause information they know is false to be related to them.

Indecent Communications

A person commits the offence of indecent communications when, intending to alarm or annoy someone, they telecommunicate an obscene or vulgar communication.

Harassing Communications

A person commits the offence of harassing communications when, without lawful excuse and intending to harass someone, they cause repeated telecommunications to be made to that person.

Examples

False Information

Person A tells person B that person B’s spouse was found dead by the highway the night before to upset person B, even though person A knows that person B’s spouse is not dead.

Indecent Communications

Person C sends person D a long, vulgar message to make person D uncomfortable after person D rejected person C.

Harassing Communications

Person E calls person F multiple times to get their attention after person F tells person E not to contact them anymore.

Cases

False Information

R. v. Okrane, 2004 SKPC 153

In R. v. Okrane, the accused was convicted of one count of false information when he sent his ex-wife and her new finance a package containing their house key, false security codes to their alarm system, and a bra belonging to the accused’s ex-wife to scare his ex-wife and harm her relationship with her fiancé.

Indecent Communications

R. v. P.(D), 2011 ONCJ 880

In R. v. P.(D), the accused was convicted of one count of indecent communications for calling the complainant and threatening to send nude pictures that she had sent to the accused to other people.

Harassing Communications

R. v. Krichel, 2019 ONSC 5664

In R. v. Krichel, the accused was convicted of one count of harassing communications when he repeatedly emailed his ex-wife for three months after she told him to stop.

Offence Specific Defences

Lack of Intention

Where the person does not intend to harm, alarm, annoy or harass the other person with their communications, they may not have completed the offence of false information and indecent and harassing communication

True Information

Where the information conveyed is true, the person who conveyed it has not completed the offence of false information.

Not Telecommunications

Where the person causes another to receive indecent or harassing communications through means other than telecommunications, such as verbally in person or in a handwritten letter, they have not completed the offences of indecent or harassing communications.

Lawful Excuse

Where the person has a lawful excuse to keep contacting someone, despite that person not wishing to speak to them, they may not have completed the offence of harassing communications. A lawful excuse could include the need to inform someone about a threat to their life or the legitimate need to discuss custody arrangements or other childcare-related matters.

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