Étudiante-chercheure étoile June 2014


Christine Santerre, étudiant-chercheur étoile, FRQSC

Christine Santerre

PhD student in Law
Université Laval


Award-winning publication: Réorganisation d'une infraction désorganisée : le harcèlement criminel

Published in: Revue juridique Thémis, 47, 195, 2013
 

Abstract

"In 2009, over 20 000 cases of criminal harassment—almost 5% of all violent crimes—were reported to the police. An exhaustive analysis of the caselaw since the crime was created in 1993 confirmed that there are several legal inconsistencies surrounding criminal harassment. My research therefore led me to develop a legal theory on harassment to better determine the limitations of criminal intervention.In this approach, the presence of fear constitutes the tipping point between malicious and truly criminal conduct. Since judges must rule on internalized states, it is critical to apply interpretive points of reference in order to guide the courts and ensure consistency in the criminal interpretation of harassment."

This study constitutes a rallying tool for judges and lawyers, synthesizing the laws of the Canadian provinces and better aligning judicial interpretation and legislative will. For defendants, this legal theory ensures their fair treatment before a criminal jurisdiction. As a result, in two cases with similar facts, an accused should not be acquitted while another is convicted due to divergences. For the legislator, the theory is unquestionably relevant since the creation of a crime of intimidation has become the subject of numerous discussions. With fear at its core, the act of intimidation could lead to issues similar to those surrounding criminal harassment. Christine Santerre'swork represents a significant advancement in penal science since it also applies to other fear-driven crimes, including death threats and extortion.