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Online Harassment and Cyberbullying: Canadian Laws and Legal Responses

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What Constitutes Online Harassment and Cyberbullying?

When a person uses a computer or goes online to perpetrate a crime, it’s called a cybercrime. If you are accused of committing a cybercrime in or near the Toronto area, it is a serious offence, and you will need to contact a Toronto cybercrime lawyer as quickly as possible.

The internet offers extraordinary benefits. You can watch classic films, learn to play a guitar, or visit museums and observatories. However, we pay a price for these benefits. From basements to offices and bedrooms, criminals commit cybercrimes ranging from child pornography to fraud.

What are your legal rights if you are accused of committing a cybercrime in or near the Toronto area, and what legal steps will you have to take? When should you reach out to a Toronto computer crime lawyer, and what will that lawyer do on your behalf?

What Crimes Are Cybercrimes?

“Cybercrimes” include hacking into another person’s computer system without that person’s permission, fraud or theft using a smartphone or a computer and the internet, or the use of a smartphone or a computer and the internet to damage, harm, or victimize another individual. Under the law in Ontario, a person commits a cybercrime by intentionally and knowingly:

  1.  accessing, without consent, someone’s computer, computer network, or system
  2.  altering, interrupting, or damaging a computer, system, or network without consent
  3.  bypassing the regulations and rules for procuring tickets to an event
  4.  sending a command, code, data, or program over the internet to cause damage
  5.  using any smartphone or computer to commit theft or fraud

Authorities in Ontario aggressively enforce strict laws against online harassment and online stalking. Stalking is recurring conduct that causes considerable emotional distress or places a victim in reasonable fear of bodily harm.

Other cybercrimes include downloading or uploading child pornography, digital copyright infringement, soliciting a minor, theft of intellectual property, and “phishing,” which is when a person dishonestly attempts to acquire another person’s confidential financial information.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of a smartphone or a computer and the internet to threaten, embarrass, harass, or target another person.

Cyberbullying is bullying. Bullying often has a significant and lasting emotional effect on a victim – an effect that may go unreported and unpunished.

Online threats and intimidating or humiliating texts, emails, posts, or messages may constitute cyberbullying. Unlike other bullying, cyberbullying can happen to a victim anywhere and at any time. Cyberbullying may include but is not limited to the following criminal acts:

  1.  criminal harassment, threats, or intimidation
  2.  identity theft or extortion
  3.  incitement of hatred, defamatory libel, or encouraging suicide
  4.  posting intimate images online without consent (or “revenge porn”)

What is the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act?

The distribution of an intimate image or video of someone without that person’s consent – sometimes called “revenge porn” – is a specific type of cyberbullying that has become far too common throughout Canada.

Under the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act of 2015, a conviction for distributing an intimate image without the consent of the person who is depicted may be penalized with a lengthy prison sentence as well as a court order to pay damages to the victim.

The Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act also allows the police to request a warrant to obtain information about a suspect if police officers have reasonable grounds to believe that the suspect has engaged in criminal cyberbullying or another computer-related crime.

If a cyberbullying defendant allegedly caused someone to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, that defendant may also be prosecuted for criminal harassment, which is punishable upon conviction with a prison sentence of up to ten years.

When Should You Contact a defence Lawyer?

If you are arrested and charged with cyberbullying or another computer crime, it does not mean that you will be convicted. You could be falsely accused or even framed for a cybercrime, and to win convictions, prosecutors must prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you face criminal cybercrime charges, your texts, emails, and social media accounts will probably be scrutinized. Your computer and phone may be searched. If a cybercrime involves a minor or a large sum of money, prosecutors in Ontario can be particularly aggressive.

However, someone could also be charged with a cybercrime due to a simple mistake or a misunderstanding with no criminal intent. If you are charged with cyberbullying or with any other computer-related crime in Ontario, contact a Toronto cybercrime lawyer immediately.

How Will a Defence Lawyer Help You?

Always stay alert whenever you are online. Never discuss sexuality online – and never discuss anything that even hints of cybercrime – with any person you do not actually know in real life. These precautions should protect the innocent against most cybercrime charges and allegations.

While investigators comb through the internet for evidence of cybercrimes, the internet can also provide evidence to your defence lawyer. Social media sites, emails, and the examination of a hard drive can often establish a person’s innocence as well as a person’s guilt.

If you are charged with a computer crime in or near the Toronto area, a Toronto computer crime lawyer will protect your rights, negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf, fight aggressively for the justice you need, and defend you before a jury if your computer crime case goes to trial.

If you are arrested and charged with cyberbullying, identity theft, or any other computer-related criminal offence, you must take your case at once to a Toronto criminal defence lawyer.

Why Should You Choose William Jaksa Criminal Litigation?

If you are charged with a cybercrime in Ontario, now or in the future, Toronto criminal defence lawyer William Jaksa will use every available legal tool to protect your rights and bring your case to its best possible conclusion.

defence lawyer William Jaksa has almost twenty years of experience and is a respected member of the Canadian Criminal Lawyers Association. Along with the team at William Jaksa Criminal Litigation, he has established a reputation for legal excellence and superlative client service.

If you are charged with any computer-related criminal offence in or near the Toronto area, promptly schedule your first legal consultation by calling William Jaksa Criminal Litigation at 647-951-8078. We know how to fight for and win the justice you need.

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