Intimidation of Justice System Participants Offences in Calgary
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.
The offence of Intimidation of Justice System Participants or Journalists is made out if you do anything with the intention of discouraging or impeding a justice system participant in executing their duties. This legislation is in place to maintain the integrity of the justice system, and ensure that those involved in it are protected from outside threats and pressure.
Intimidation of Justice System Participants Charge
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.
There are many different ways in which the offence may be committed, including:
- 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
- “Stalking” the place where a journalist or justice system participant works, lives, goes to school, does business, or happens to be
- Instilling fear in any of the following groups of people, for the following reasons:
- Members of the general public with the intention of impeding the administration of criminal justice
- A participant in the justice system, in order to make the performance of his duties more difficult
- A journalist, in order to prevent him/her from distributing information to the public about a criminal organization.
You face an uphill battle when it comes to securing bail after being charged with intimidation of a justice participant. 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.
Defending Intimidation of Justice System Participants Charge
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 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.
We 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.