The Arrest and Charges
Thunder Bay – News – The Thunder Bay Police Service have arrested a local man on charges of criminal harassment. The suspect is believed to be the individual behind a series of troubling letters targeting staff members of local businesses. David Robert Ostrom, 54, was taken into custody without incident on Sunday, June 25, 2023.
The police became aware of the situation in March 2023 when a local business reported receiving sexually explicit letters. Further investigation revealed two similar incidents, one reported in September 2022 and another between June and July 2022. The police believe these incidents may be connected.
The Criminal Charges and Penalties
Ostrom is facing three counts of Criminal Harassment under Section 264(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Harassment, as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada, is a serious offence that falls under Section 264. The law defines criminal harassment as persistently following, communicating with, watching or threatening another individual either directly or through someone else, in a manner that causes that individual to reasonably fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them. The law emphasizes that the actions leading to the fear must be unwarranted, that is, the actions cannot be justified by any reasonable cause.
The behaviours constituting harassment can take many forms, including stalking, repeated unwanted communication, threatening conduct, or even unwanted observation (watching someone’s home, for example). These actions become criminal when they cause the victim to fear for their personal safety. It’s important to note that the law does not require actual harm to have occurred – the anticipation or fear of harm is enough for the behaviour to be deemed criminal harassment.
The charge of criminal harassment carries significant penalties. The maximum penalty for this offence is ten years imprisonment if prosecuted by indictment. If the Crown chooses to proceed summarily, the maximum penalty is six months imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both. The actual sentence, if a person is convicted, would depend on a variety of factors including the severity of the harassment, the impact on the victim, and the perpetrator’s criminal history.
If convicted, Ostrom could face up to ten years in prison. It’s important to note that the penalties may vary depending on a variety of factors, including the nature of the harassment, the impact on the victims, and any prior criminal history.
The Court Proceedings
Ostrom appeared in bail court on Monday, June 26, where he was released with conditions pending his next court appearance. The court will determine whether he is guilty of the charges and, if so, what the appropriate punishment should be.
The Thunder Bay Police Service continues to investigate the possibility that other victims may have received similar harassing letters but have not yet come forward. The letters typically target local businesses or specific staff members, often using the victim’s first name and containing sexual content.
Anyone who has received such a letter is urged to contact the Thunder Bay Police Service’s non-emergency line and report the incident. Please refer to incident number TB23008478 when making a police report.
This case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of reporting any form of harassment. It is crucial to keep our community safe and ensure that anyone who engages in such behavior is held accountable for their actions.