Utter Threats To Cause Death

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Utter threat to cause death, or utter threat to cause bodily harm is a serious charge. Although not always, this charge often arises in context with other domestic violence charges. It is also sometimes coupled with a charge of extortion. Our team of experienced Criminal Lawyers have successfully defended utter threat charges of all types and circumstances. We have negotiated the withdrawal of charges, obtained outright acquittals, and sometimes negotiated a peace bond. There are a number of defences to this charge and it is often difficult for the Crown to establish proof beyond reasonable doubt. Call us, we can help.


264.1 (1) Every one commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys or causes any person to receive a threa

(a) to cause death or bodily harm to any person;
(b) to burn, destroy or damage real or personal property; or
(c) to kill, poison or injure an animal or bird that is the property of any person.
(2) Every one who commits an offence under paragraph (1)(a) is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fire years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.
(3) Every one who commits an offence under paragraph (1)(b) or (c)
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Potential Solutions to Utter Threat Charges

A common misconception is that the complainant can have the charges withdrawn.  This is not the case.  Only the Crown attorney has the authority to withdraw a charge and more often than not they are not inclined to do so at the request of the complainant. The Crown will listen to the complainant and will consider their position but are not obligated to follow it.

HOWEVER, there are numerous defences to an utter threat charge.  Proving the charge beyond reasonable doubt is difficult. On many occasions, the evidence at trial reduces to a “he said”/ “she said” – one side versus the other.  These cases are very difficult for the Crown to prove.  The Supreme Court of Canada in the case R. v. W.D. set out the appropriate analysis of this evidence

(1) if  the judge believes the evidence of the accused, he/she must acquit;
(2) if the judge does not believe the testimony of the accused but is left in reasonable doubt by it, he/she must acquit;
(3) even if not left in doubt by the evidence of the accused, the judge still must ask  whether he/she is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused on the basis of the balance of the evidence.

At Zamani Law, our experienced team of criminal lawyers has defended numerous cases where the Judge has not accepted the evidence of the accused but still acquitted the accused because our cross examination of the complainant left the judge with reasonable doubt.

There are many other defences other than the credibility of the evidence, and far too many to detail in this forum. However, our team of experienced criminal lawyers will leave no stone unturned in your defence.  We will work with you and together we will formulate the best criminal defence for your circumstances.

Potential Consequences

A conviction for uttering threat to cause death or bodily harm, can have serious consequences.
1. a criminal record
2. jail or fine
3. probation
4. travel restrictions
5. firearm restrictions

Talk to our criminal lawyers

Talk to our team at Zamani Law. We have extensive experience handling these cases. We want you to know your rights, what your options are and your best criminal defence.

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