Most people are surprised to learn that threats of violence can actually carry criminal consequences. Section 264.1 of the Criminal Code outlines the offence of Utter Threat. Under this section it is an offence to knowingly threaten to cause death or bodily harm.
What You Need to Know
- The maximum penalty for these offences is two years imprisonment.
- It is not a requirement that the threat actually be made directly to the complainant. Nor is it a requirement that the threat be made verbally. Text messages or Internet posts are sufficient to establish the elements of the offence.
Defending the Charge
It is often the case that the only evidence of the offence is the oral testimony of the alleged victim. That is why these types of cases are often referred to as “he said she said” cases. It is important for anyone charged with uttering threat to understand that oral testimony is evidence of the offence, and that it is possible for a judge to find an Accused guilty based solely on the complainant’s testimony. Defending an utter threat charge therefore will often require the Accused to testify as to his/her own innocence.