- Blackmailing someone is a criminal offence in Canada.
- It is defined as extortion under section 346 in the Criminal Code of Canada.
What is Extortion?
Extortion occurs when
- One person induces or attempts to induce another person to do anything or cause anything to be done.
- The person intended to obtain anything or cause anything to be done.
- The person uses threats, accusations, menaces or violence to induce the other person to do anything or cause anything to be done.
- The person had no reasonable justification or excuse for inducing another person to do anything or cause anything to be done.
- Criminal charges of extortion typically involve an incident where an individual is knowingly trying to blackmail another individual to obtain money or property that he or she would not otherwise be entitled to.
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- Although a serious criminal offence, a criminal charge of extortion is not as common as most other criminal offences, such as domestic assault or sexual assault.
- In the definition of extortion, the term “anything”, has a wide and unrestrictive application and includes a wide range of threats.
- While it certainly can be, the threat itself does not need to be the threat of anything illegal.
- In the case of extortion, a threat can range from a threat of a criminal action, such as murder or assault, or can it be comapartivitly innocuous.
- Threats, such a threat to disclosure private information about an individual to others, or a threat to call the police in order to get the individual charged, meet the requirements for a criminal charge of extortion
- The individual who is threatened does not need to be same individual who is being blackmailed to do something.
- The blackmailing individual does not need to carry out the threat to be guilty of extortion.
- As well the individual who is threatened does need not to fulfil the demands for the blackmailing individual to be guilty of extortion.
- An individual can still be charged with extortion if they threaten someone in order to obtain that which you are legally entitled to.
- Section 346(2) excludes threats to begin civil proceedings, and therefore an individual is entitled to threaten to sue someone if they do not repay a debt that they owe.
- An individual can still be charged with extortion for threatening to call the police on another individual who will not repay a debt or return personal property.
- There can be a viable defence available to an individual charged with extortion if they can demonstrate that the threat they made was reasonable justified.
- Reasonable justification is not explicitly defined in s.346. Therefore it would be up to the discretion of the courts to examine the totality of the case and the conduct of the blackmailing individual and make a determination as to the reasonable justification of the threat.
- There are viable defences available to you if you are facing a criminal charge of extortion. Contact Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyers for advice.