Intimidation of a Justice System Participant Lawyers in Saskatchewan

What is Intimidation of a Justice System Participant?

Intimidation of a justice system participant is an offence intended to maintain the integrity of the justice system and ensure that those involved in proceedings are protected from outside threats and pressure. The victims of this offence can include members of the public, justice system participants, and journalists.

In 2019, there were 33 incidents of intimidation of a justice system participant in Saskatchewan. Though this number is low, the offence is taken very seriously, as the Regina Police Service (along with the Saskatoon Police Service and the RCMP) take great care in the protection and safety of justice system participants.

The provision for intimidation of a justice system participant or journalist in the Criminal Code of Canada (the “Code”) is:

Intimidation of a justice system participant or a journalist

423.1 (1) No person shall, without lawful authority, engage in any conduct with the intent to provoke a state of fear in

(a) a group of persons or the general public in order to impede the administration of criminal justice;

(b) a justice system participant in order to impede him or her in the performance of his or her duties; or

(c) a journalist in order to impede him or her in the transmission to the public of information in relation to a criminal organization.

Justice system participants can include:

  • Members of any branch of government;
  • Anyone who plays a role in the administration of criminal justice, such as:
    • Ministers;
    • Lawyers;
    • Judges and justices;
    • Members or potential members of a jury;
    • Confidential informants;
    • Witnesses;
    • Peace officers or any members of a police force; and
    • Anyone employed in court administration.

There are many different ways in which this offence may be committed, including instilling fear in any of the following groups of people, for the following reasons:

  • Members of the general public with the intention of impeding the administration of criminal justice;
  • A participant in the justice system, in order to make the performance of their duties more difficult; or
  • A journalist, in order to prevent them from distributing information to the public about a criminal organization.

To be convicted, the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to promote a state of fear in a journalist, justice system participant, or member of the public, and, you did so in order to impede the administration of justice/prevent them from doing their job/limit the dissemination of information about a criminal organization.

Investigation of Intimidation of a Justice System Participant Charges in Saskatchewan

An investigation of an allegation of intimidation of a justice system participant or journalist in Saskatchewan is typically initiated by a complaint from an alleged victim of intimidation or a witness. The police will attend the scene and request a written statement from the alleged victim or any other witness, then they will launch an investigation.

An investigation may include:

  • Interviewing all witnesses;
  • Reviewing any video surveillance;
  • Seizing any evidence involved;
  • Photographing the scene; and
  • Obtaining medical records, if relevant.

After the police have gathered their evidence, they will arrest you if they believe you are the perpetrator. If you are not present at the scene, police will track you down or issue a warrant for your arrest. Police may then decide to charge you immediately, or they may transport you to an RCMP detachment or city police holding cell for further questioning and processing, before deciding whether or not to lay charges. You will likely be given the opportunity to speak to a lawyer before being questioned; you should exercise your right to obtain this legal advice.

After you have been charged, police will provide a package with all the evidence they have collected, known as the “disclosure package,” to the Crown Prosecutor. You will have the right to access this package to see the evidence against you. Once you retain one of our lawyers, we will assist you in obtaining the disclosure package, and we will review it with you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Crown’s case, as well as any legal defences that may be available to you.

Bail Process and Conditions for Intimidation of a Justice System Participant Charges in Saskatchewan

How do I get myself or a loved one out on bail for intimidation of a justice system participant charges in Saskatchewan?

Because of the severity of the offence, if you have been charged with intimidation of a justice system participant, the Crown will likely push for you to be detained, requiring a formal bail hearing to be released. You can expect to be detained especially if you have a criminal record, or if the allegations are more serious.

In the event that a bail hearing is necessary, you will likely be transferred to a provincial correctional facility to wait for your bail hearing.  If you are a male, you will be transferred to the nearest of the following: the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre, the Prince Albert Provincial Correctional Centre, or the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre. If you are a female, you will be transferred to the Pine Grove Correctional Centre in Prince Albert. In some cases, you may be held at the local RCMP detachment or municipal police cells.

The bail hearing can be held within as little as 24 hours, a period of time that starts from the moment of arrest or detention. However, the Crown can request up to three days to prepare for your bail hearing and may ask the court for longer.  An effective defence lawyer will ensure that your bail hearing occurs as soon as possible so that you are not in custody for any longer than necessary.

The Regina Provincial Correctional Centre address is:

Regina Provincial Correctional Centre
4040E 9th Avenue North
Regina, SK S4P 3A6
Tel: (306) 924-9000

The Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre address is:

Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre
910 60 Street East
Saskatoon, SK S7K 2H6
Tel: (306) 956-8800

The Prince Albert Correctional Centre address is

Prince Albert Correctional Centre
3021 1 Avenue West
Prince Albert, SK S6V 6G1
Tel: (306) 953-3000

In Prince Albert, the Pine Grove Correctional Centre address is:

Pine Grove Correctional Centre
1700 7 Avenue North-East
Spruce Home, SK S0J 2N0
Tel: (306) 953-3100

Loved ones are not able to contact you while you are detained. Unless the detained person is a minor, the police will not release any information to friends or family due to privacy laws. Your lawyer is the only person allowed to contact you. Once the police have verified your lawyer’s details, they will pass on information about your whereabouts, if requested.

Given these difficulties, while you are held in custody, it is best to appoint a competent defence lawyer as soon as possible to manage the legal process and communicate with loved ones. After an arrest, the police must provide you with the opportunity to call a lawyer in private. If you choose to exercise this right, the police must stop questioning you until you have had the opportunity to do so.

Once you retain one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers, we will begin working to secure your release on bail.

We will immediately do the following:

  1. Call into the correctional centre where you are being held and speak to you.
  2. Contact the prosecutor assigned to the bail hearing to start negotiating your release.
  3. Order and secure a copy of the police information package that details the allegations against you in advance of the bail hearing. This allows the lawyer to make meaningful representations to the court about why you should be released on bail.
  4. Conduct either an in-person or teleconference bail hearing to secure your release.

When you attend your bail hearing, the judge will consider the following factors:

  • Is detention necessary to secure your attendance in court?
  • Is detention necessary to protect the public from a substantial risk of re-offending?
  • Is detention necessary in all the circumstances to maintain confidence in the administration of justice?

Although it is unlikely that you will be denied bail for intimidation of a justice system participant, tight restrictions may nevertheless be applied to your release.

Rest assured, we will work to not only secure your release but also ensure the least restrictive set of bail conditions (including the minimum cash deposit) possible.

In order for our lawyers to secure less stringent conditions, the judge will need to be satisfied that you will attend court as required and that you pose no significant risk of harm to the public. This may sometimes be difficult in an assault case, but not impossible.

Our lawyers are often successful at persuading the Crown Prosecutor in charge of bail to let our clients out. If we can’t convince the prosecutor, we can conduct a formal bail hearing and work to convince the court. Even if you are ultimately detained, we can appeal that decision on very short notice through a bail review. Such reviews are conducted at the Court of King’s Bench of Saskatchewan.

Where can I pay for bail for intimidation of a justice system participant charges in Saskatchewan?

If you or a loved one are charged with drug trafficking in Saskatchewan and granted bail, you may be required to provide a cash deposit to secure release. The mode by which you pay the cash deposit will depend on the courthouse at which your bail hearing is held. Your defence lawyer will advise you on the procedures specific to your location and will be able to explain the options for payment to you, or to a loved one who is making the payment on your behalf.

How do I change my release conditions for intimidation of a justice system participant charges in Saskatchewan?

Release on bail for intimidation of a justice system participant charges may require either a surety, cash or no-cash deposit.

Beyond that, you may face tight restrictions, including conditions to refrain from:

  • Interacting with any alleged victim(s);
  • Attending the alleged victim’s home or place of work;
  • Using drugs or alcohol;
  • Staying out beyond a certain time (i.e. curfew);
  • Breaking any laws;
  • Possessing weapons;
  • Visiting certain places; and/or
  • Travelling.

The judge may also impose additional conditions such as:

  • Residing where approved;
  • Reporting to probation;
  • Attending counselling; and/or
  • Maintaining or seeking employment.

A variety of factors will be considered when determining your precise restrictions, including:

  • Your criminal history;
  • Your history of drug/alcohol usage;
  • Your physical and mental condition;
  • The nature of the alleged offence; and
  • The likelihood that you will flee.

If you have already been released, at least for the short term, it is critical that you follow your conditions until they can be changed. Breaching the terms of your release can result in further charges or revocation of your bail, as well as a forfeiture of any cash paid to secure your release. It is important to take these conditions seriously.

Once the matter is in court, we can work with the prosecutor to alter your conditions. This includes either adding exceptions to some of the conditions or eliminating them altogether.

If your court date is far away and you cannot wait until then, we can arrange to have the matter dealt with sooner. Our first priority is always to stabilize your release conditions. That way, you will not feel pressured to plead guilty because of the restrictive terms of your release. Once the conditions are manageable and minimally intrusive to your daily routine, we can focus 100% of our attention on defending the case.

Penalties for Intimidation of a Justice System Participant Charges in Saskatchewan

You can expect a significant penalty for intimidation of a justice system participant charges if convicted. This offence is indictable, meaning that the Crown and the court take it very seriously. Reflecting the seriousness of this offence, convicted individuals can expect up to 14 years’ imprisonment.

In addition to the immediate penalties resulting from a conviction, it can have wide-ranging negative consequences on your future. You may have trouble securing employment, especially in roles that require working with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable sectors of society. The lifelong criminal record that results from a conviction can hinder immigration and travel. Finally, because of the nature of this offence, your friends and family may perceive you as unworthy of their trust, and it can heavily impact your reputation.

For these reasons, even if you intend on accepting responsibility for this type of offence, it is worthwhile to explore your options and consider all possible penalties. Often, good representation can result in no criminal record. Furthermore, a community-based sentence may be obtained even where the Crown is seeking jail time.

Rest assured, our lawyers will work hard to defend you so that you are not saddled with the consequences that stem from a criminal conviction for intimidation of a justice system participant. In fact, we can canvass a range of sentencing options with the prosecutor that will either leave you with no criminal record or impose minimal restrictions on your liberty after sentencing. To learn more about potential non-criminal resolutions, please visit our resolutions page, or read our FAQ on resolutions and other sentencing options.

Saskatchewan Intimidation of a Justice System Participant Charges

Defending Intimidation of a Justice System Participant Charges in Saskatchewan

What are the best defences to intimidation of a justice system participant charges in Saskatchewan?

With such serious potential penalties following a conviction for intimidation of a justice system participant, it is important that you take your defence seriously. With this type of offence, the defences that may be available to you will depend on the facts of your case.

In general, the best defences for intimidation of a justice system participant charge are:

  • Factual Innocence: This is usually the strongest defence because the facts and evidence do not support you being there, intimidating a justice system participant, or other basic elements of the offence.
  • Violation of Constitutional Rights: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) sets out your rights before and after your arrest. If the police fail to abide by these rights, it could aid in your defence.
  • No Intent to Promote a State of Fear: The Crown must prove that you intended to promote a state of fear within the alleged victim. Without this intent, you are lacking the requisite mental element of the offence, which will make it challenging to convict you. 

While the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offence, you may bear some responsibility in raising certain defences at trial.

Depending on your specific circumstances, our review may focus on some of the following issues:

  • Can the Crown prove that you committed the crime?
  • What was your intention in doing what you did?
  • Did you know the victim was a justice system participant?
  • Was any evidence against you obtained in a way that violated your constitutional rights?

The availability and strength of any defence depend entirely on the specific facts of your case. Our lawyers have significant experience assessing the availability and strengths of various potential defences in intimidation of a justice system participant cases, as well as presenting any and all available defences to the court at trial. Even if you believe that you will be found guilty, it is important that you obtain a legal opinion about defences that may be available to you. 

How can I help defend intimidation of a justice system participant charges in Saskatchewan?

If you have been charged with intimidation of a justice system participant in Saskatchewan, the following can help your lawyer build a strong defence:

  • Take detailed notes about your version of events to provide to your lawyer;
  • Collecting and maintaining all documents and records about the event;
  • Gathering a list of witnesses that may support your version of events, if applicable; and
  • Logging any relevant texts, emails, phone calls or photographic evidence.

As soon as you are released on bail, you should start to gather any information that may be of use to your lawyer. What information is relevant will depend on the facts in your case. If you are uncertain what information to collect, contact one of our lawyers immediately to create a plan of action.

To be truly proactive about the matter, consider doing the following:

  • Securing proof of employment;
  • Securing reference letters;
  • Enrolling in counselling (anger management/substance abuse/parenting);
  • Securing a record of your medical prescriptions; and
  • Securing a record of any mental health conditions you suffer from.

These steps can be very helpful for building an effective defence (or convincing the prosecutor to drop the charges altogether).

What can a lawyer do to help me defend against intimidation of a justice system participant charges in Saskatchewan?

As we start preparing your defence by examining police actions and the evidence against you, there are certain defence strategies that can be used to aid your cause, including:

  • Assembling documents such as photographs and texts that contradict the allegation and support your defence;
  • Gathering evidence from witnesses that support your version of events;
  • Identifying mistakes in the actions of the police, such as Charter breaches;
  • Uncovering administrative/systemic errors, such as “Jordan delay,” non-disclosure, lost or destroyed evidence, etc.; and
  • Finding weaknesses or “holes” in the Crown’s case that may make it difficult or impossible for them to establish the elements of the offence.

Our experienced defence lawyers will use the most effective defence against the charges according to the precise circumstances of your case. Even if the charges proceed and you are found guilty, a good lawyer can significantly reduce the severity of the consequences for you.

Further Reading

Below are a few notable cases dealing with various aspects of intimidation of a justice system participant charges:

In R v Favel, 2016 SKPC 117 the accused was charged with robbing the victim. During the victim’s testimony, the accused made threatening gestures towards him, to the point where the victim became upset and required a break. The accused was then also charged with intimidation of a justice system participant. That evening, the accused coordinated a threatening Facebook message to be sent to the victim. The defence argued that it was only the accused’s acts in court that should be considered to be part of the offence, however, the court found that the Facebook post was additional conduct on the part of the accused that satisfied the actus reus of the offence. The accused was found guilty.

In R v Cluney, 2008 SKQB 240 the accused was convicted of the murder of a Hells Angels informant. At issue was whether the accused was also guilty of intimidating a justice system participant by striking fear in other informants, thereby dissuading them from coming forward in matters related to the Hells Angels. The Court noted that it is the intent of the accused, rather than the effect of their activities, that is determinative of guilt with respect to an intimidation charge. The informant’s murder may have had the effect of intimidating informants more generally, however, there was insufficient evidence that this was the accused’s intent. The accused was acquitted of the intimidation charge.

What’s Next?

Most of the information above relates to the simple intimidation of a justice system participant case, which can still be complex and fact-specific.

We have tried our best to provide a general outline of what you can expect if you find yourself in this situation, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

To learn more about how we can help, please contact our team of intimidation of a justice participant lawyers to conduct a thorough review of your situation so that we can tailor a strategy that targets your successful defence.


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