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Section 264(1) of the Criminal Code criminalizes conduct that causes a person to fear for their safety or anyone known to them.
The key elements of this offence are:
Pattern of Conduct: The accused person engages in a pattern of unwanted and repetitive behavior directed at another person. This behavior can include repeatedly following, communicating with, or engaging in threatening conduct toward the victim.
Fear for Safety: The victim reasonably fears for their safety or the safety of someone they know as a result of the accused person's conduct.
Knowledge or Recklessness: The accused person must know that their conduct is harassing or be reckless as to whether it is harassing.
Criminal harassment is taken seriously under Canadian law because it can cause significant emotional distress and fear for the safety of victims. Penalties for criminal harassment can vary depending on factors such as the severity of the conduct, any prior criminal history, and the specific circumstances of the case. If convicted, the accused person may face penalties including fines, probation, restraining orders, and imprisonment.