Social media was a beacon of free speech, but more and more the noose is tightening in the arena of internet free speech. However, making threats is not considered free speech. It’s considered criminal activity. In Canada, it looks like making a threat on social media could land you in prison for up to five years!
Failing to think before you peck out a frustrated, angry threat is what draws attention by those in law enforcement.
In May of this year, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in New Brunswick notified the RCMP National Security Enforcement Section about alleged threats made by an adult male against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on social media.
According to the RCMP:
The file was linked to Saskatchewan and an investigation began.
As a result of the ongoing investigation, on May 24, 2017 around 5:30 p.m., 34-year-old Derek Hurrell from Borden, Saskatchewan was arrested without incident after members initiated a traffic stop on a roadway near Borden. He is charged with:
- One count, uttering threats, section 264.1 of the Criminal Code
In addition to charges, a residence in Borden was searched on May 24. Several electronics items were seized from this residence.
Global News Canada reported:
Authorities said there was no direct contact between Hurrell and the prime minister and have not said what the nature of the alleged threat was.
“This is the second charge of this nature laid within the past ten months. Both instances involved the use of social media,” Supt. Rob Cameron, the “F” Division assistant criminal operations officer for federal policing, said in a statement.
“It’s important for the public to know that criminal charges may be laid if evidence is obtained to support them. We do not take these investigations lightly, no matter who the victim is.”
“This is the second charge of this nature laid within the past ten months,” said Supt. Rob Cameron, “F” Division Assistant Criminal Operations Officer, Federal Policing. “Both instances involved the use of social media. It’s important for the public to know that criminal charges may be laid if evidence is obtained to support them. We do not take these investigations lightly and we cannot speculate whether or not someone may or may not act on alleged threats made.”
Others who have found themselves in hot water for making threats include the following:
- Sebastien Taylor, 48, is charged with uttering threats via voicemail for Ralph Goodale, Canada’s minister of public safety.
- Lisa Seymour-Peters, 49, of Alberta, was arrested May 12 and charged with one count under the Criminal Code of uttering threats against the prime minister’s wife and the Canadian government.
- James Martin Platts, 58, of Chatham-Kent, was arrested in Cobourg on Jan. 5 for allegedly threatening to kill 10 female MPs and the prime minister’s wife. He pleaded not guilty and the judge acquitted him saying that Platts, “earnestly involved in a conversation about how to stop threats that he believed existed towards public officials, and that he did not subjectively intend to intimidate or convey a threat to anyone by discussing these matters on the phone.”
According to Section 264.1 of the Criminal Code dealing with threats, the maximum penalty for issuing a threat is five years.
264.1(1) Every one commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys or causes any person to receive a threat
(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 five 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.
I wonder what would happen in the US if we started dealing with morons who make ridiculous threats against the President and other people in our society if we started bringing justice against them. Clearly, I don’t believe putting these people in jails where others have to pay to keep them up is justice, but we need some justice brought against those in our society who utter such stupid and criminal comments in order to teach those thinking about it a lesson.