Shortly before I retired from my former life back in Canada, and disappeared into Mexico, I worked as a legal assistant for a number of years. I actually find the law extremely fascinating, especially criminal law. I have had to deal a lot with police, professionally and personally, and I know what makes them tick, what gets them motivated. Today I am going to cover a little on the law, the notorious ones that stalkers violate, and how to present a strong case to the police.
So you have a psychopathic stalker or abuser in your life who will not drop dead or leave you alone. The police should do something about it, right? Here is what I recommend doing so that the police are compelled to take your case seriously.
Before you go to the police and report your stalker, you need to get your records straight and prepare your evidence. Lay out the timeline of the stalking incidents, in chronological order, and start writing a detailed and comprehensive complaint.
It is key to include all the obvious information that any police officer, following stalking protocol, would ask. For ideas on what questions law enforcement are supposed to ask, read through Summary of Creating an Effective Stalking Protocol, published by the Stalking Resource Centre.
Don’t worry about the length of the paperwork, as more information is better. However, make it easy for others to scan and read through, by using a point form style (dates and incidents, then explanation of how it affected you, etc.).
Attach the evidence (pictures, cell phone records, copies of letters or emails received, etc.) that you refer to in your points to the back of the report (ie: write at the end of each point that has supporting proof, “See Exhibit A, B, C”).
2008-Jan-24: Note from stalker – Found on my car at 8:13am when I was on my way to work. See Exhibit A for copy of note.
2008-Jan-25: Phonecalls from Stalker – I answered my cellphone at 1:47pm and the stalker said, “When is a good time for me to stop by tonight?”. I told him to stop calling me and hung up. He called again at 1:49pm, 2:14pm, 3:02pm, 4:12pm and 6:38pm. I did not answer and let all calls go to voicemail. There was heavy breathing left on each message.
2008-Jan-25: Stalker sat outside my home – Was in his vehicle sitting at the end of my driveway from 6:46pm until 7:23pm, in a White Chevy Suburban. See Exhibit B for photo.
2008-Jan 26: Footprint trails of stalker – Found and photographed footprints leading up my driveway and to three windows around my home at 8:04am. See Exhibit C for photos.
At the end of the report, write everything you feel you have done to avoid your stalker (ie: telling to stalker to F-off and never contact you again, moving away, changing phone number or altering your routines, etc.) and explain why this stalker or psychopath is causing you a genuine fear for your safety. And why you need their immediate help and intervention.
When you have prepared all the details in writing (and make sure to copy the entire report for your own records), take your evidence down to the police station and ask to talk to a police officer (do not just leave it with a clerk at the front desk).
Every police department, in this day and age, should have and follow stalking protocol. What I mean by that is, the majority of law enforcement agencies out there have developed a set of guidelines to follow when a stalking (or domestic violence) victim shows up on their front steps. Ask them what their protocol is if you feel you are not taken seriously.
If they do take your case seriously, they will go get their handy-dandy Bible (Criminal Code of Canada or in the US, each state has a separate set of laws regarding stalking found here).
They should read through your stalking report and find a way to apply each incident to the law. They will have to come up with enough that the stalker can be charged with, based on the facts and circumstances of your situation. If they cannot get that far, they may believe there is nothing they can do to help you.
Now, if they don’t like to read, didn’t spend much time in police training studying the law, or have never dealt with a stalking case before they may not know where to start or what to do. So try to find a cop that has years of experience in the police force and an IQ of over 110.
You need to hold police accountable and hound them until they do something. Bring them donuts and coffee. Stalk them, and see if they get the picture, how it may feel. It needs to get to the point where they actually do something, anything, for you (arrest the stalker or help you get a restraining order). If a cop tells you that you need to go to the court (on your own) to get a restraining or protective order, then ask to speak to their supervisor, because that is the job of the police. Not you.
You may also want to check out my article Think a Restraining or Protection Order May Help?
By knowing how the law works, you can help (guide) others into handling your case properly. If the police draw a blank face when you report your stalking case, then at least you know there is not much that particular police officer will do for you. Find someone who will. Be as persistent as your stalker.
Dealing with criminal harassment and stalking cases involves a huge learning curve and so the way the law handles your case (or doesn’t) is key to any success. It all starts with the police.
I also should point out, in Canada, it is the police who decide whether a stalker is arrested, and the crown prosecutor who approves a charge. Of course, this takes some extra (paper) work on behalf of the police officer who takes your report, so you want to make sure you follow up with them every step of the way (get their name, badge, shift hours you can reach them).
Show up regularly at the station or call them, so they know you are serious about getting their cooperation. Each additional stalking incident needs to be reported (in writing) and always remember to get a copy of your report.
So in Canada, what are some of the sections in the Criminal Code that may apply to a stalking situation?
Section 264 is the main one that covers stalking (Criminal Harassment). It states:
(1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.
(2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of (a) repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them; (b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them; (c) besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or (d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.
(3) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Factors to be Considered
(4) Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court imposing the sentence on the person shall consider as an aggravating factor that, at the time the offence was committed, the person contravened (a) the terms or conditions of an order made pursuant to section 161 or a recognizance entered into pursuant to section 810, 810.1 or 810.2; or (b) the terms or conditions of any other order or recognizance made or entered into under the common law or a provision of this or any other Act of Parliament or of a province that is similar in effect to an order or recognizance referred to in paragraph (a).
(5) Where the court is satisfied of the existence of an aggravating factor referred to in subsection (4), but decides not to give effect to it for sentencing purposes, the court shall give reasons for its decision.
Other sections that may apply in a Canadian case (refer to the Criminal Code of Canada for descriptions of the offences and corresponding punishment):
31. Arrest for breach of peace
72. Forcible entry
81. Using explosives
85. Using firearm in commission of offence
86. Careless use of firearm, etc.
87. Pointing a firearm
90. Carrying concealed weapon
91. Unauthorized possession of firearm
92. Possession of firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized
93. Possession at unauthorized place
94. Unauthorized possession in motor vehicle
95. Possession of prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition
96. Possession of weapon obtained by commission of offence
98. Breaking and entering to steal firearm
98.1 Robbery to steal firearm
127. Disobeying order of court
136. Witness giving contradictory evidence
137. Fabricating evidence
138. Offences relating to affidavits
139. Obstructing justice
140. Public mischief
159. Anal intercourse (yes, against the law in Canada)
163. Corrupting morals
168. Mailing obscene matter
173. Indecent acts and Exposure
175. Causing disturbance, indecent exhibition, loitering, etc.
177. Trespassing at night
178. Offensive volatile substance
180. Common nuisance
181. Spreading false news
191. Possession, etc.
219. Criminal negligence
239. Attempt to commit murder
241. Counselling or aiding suicide
244. Discharging firearm with intent
244.1 Causing bodily harm with intent — air gun or pistol
244.2 Discharging firearm — recklessness
245. Administering noxious thing
246. Overcoming resistance to commission of offence (Choking, Suffocation, Drugging)
247. Traps likely to cause bodily harm
249. Dangerous operation of motor vehicles, vessels and aircraft
253. Operation while impaired
264.1 Uttering threats
267. Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm
268. Aggravated assault
269. Unlawfully causing bodily harm
271. Sexual assault
272. Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm
273. Aggravated sexual assault
279. Kidnapping and Forcible confinement
279.03 Withholding or destroying documents (passports, etc)
297. to 301. Defamatory Libel and Publishing of libel know to be false
341. Fraudulent concealment
342. Theft, forgery, etc., of credit card and Unauthorized use of credit card data
342.1 Unauthorized use of computer
345. Stopping mail with intent
348. Breaking and entering with intent, committing offence or breaking out
348.1 Aggravating circumstance — home invasion
349. Being unlawfully in dwelling-house
351. Possession of break-in instrument and Disguise with intent
356. Theft from mail
361. False pretence
366. Forgery and Making false document
368. Use, trafficking or possession of forged document
372. False messages, Indecent telephone calls, and Harassing telephone calls
377. Damaging documents
402.2 Identity theft
403. Identity fraud
430. Mischief and Mischief in relation to data
433. Arson — disregard for human life
434. Arson — damage to property
445. Injuring or endangering other animals
445.1 Causing unnecessary suffering
I handpicked these particular sections as they are the ones that stalkers, domestic abusers and psychopaths notoriously violate in Canada.
Note: When you do up your report, you might also want to include at the end, all the applicable sections of the law that the stalker has violated. This can paint a picture for the police and simplify much of the groundwork for them.
To wrap up, the more you are familiar with the laws pertaining to the behaviour of a stalker, the greater your chance of having a stronger case. Presenting your case in an organized and professional way will help you be taken more seriously, and not just sloughed off. If you are the victim of a stalker that you once had an intimate relationship with, even more of a reason for the police to do their job right and deal with the stalker accordingly. We need to hold them accountable.
Until next time… keep safe and sane…