What are defences to uttering threats?
There are a variety of defences for individuals charged with uttering threats based on the circumstances of each specific case. The most important step in determining what defences are available to you, is to hire an experienced lawyer who can properly assess your case. Cory Wilson has successfully represented countless individuals charged with uttering threats.
In order to be convicted of uttering threats, the Crown Prosecutor must prove the essential elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. Through a focused cross-examination, a skilled defence lawyer may be able to raise a reasonable doubt as to whether the Crown has proven the identity of the accused, what words were actually said and in what context the words were uttered. If the Crown is unable to prove these essential elements, the accused must be found not guilty.
A common defence to uttering threats is to demonstrate that a reasonable person, fully aware of the circumstances, would not perceive the utterance as a threat. The words must be looked at in the context in which they were spoken or written, in light of the person to whom they were addressed and the circumstances in which they were uttered. The words must be viewed in an objective way and the meaning attributed to the words should be that which a reasonable person would give to them.
Another defence is to demonstrate that the accused, when uttering the words, did not intend form them to be taken seriously or alarm the recipient. In determining the intent of the accused, a judge will look at the circumstances surrounding the utterances such as whether the accused was intoxicated, the relationship with the recipient and previous violent history, if any.
Most often, if the Crown has made out the essential elements of the offence, the accused will likely have to testify as to his intentions in order to raise a possible defence.