Kidnapping is defined as taking someone against their will to a secondary location. In Canada, there are several forms of kidnapping, which include causing a person to be confined or imprisoned against their will, unlawfully transporting them out of the country, and holding a person against their will for ransom.

A similar offence is the charge of forcible confinement, which is defined as confining or in some way depriving another person of their liberty to move. The difference between kidnapping and forcible confinement is that kidnapping also includes the added element of moving an individual to a different location.

Offences Related to Kidnapping

The area of kidnapping law includes the following possible charges:

  • Unlawful confinement
  • Human trafficking
  • Hostage-taking
  • Abduction
  • Child luring

Consequences of Kidnapping

  • Minimum 5 years for a first offence in which a firearm is used and the kidnapping is related to a criminal organization (Minimum 7 years for subsequent offences)
  • Minimum 4 years in which a firearm is used
  • Minimum 5 years in which the victim is under the age of 16 (except if the offender is a parent or guardian)
  • Life imprisonment is the maximum available penalty for any form of kidnapping.

Frequently Asked Questions about Kidnapping Charges in Alberta

1. What is the difference between abduction and kidnapping?

Although abduction and kidnapping are similar, abduction is defined as unlawfully taking a child away from their legal guardian or parent and includes different categories of abduction such as parental child abduction, stranger abduction, and non-family abduction.

2. How does the Crown Prosecutor prove kidnapping in court?

In order to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a kidnapping occurred, the Crown must show that the victim was taken from one place to another without their consent, that the victim was confined, that the accused had no lawful authority to take the complainant, and that the accused’s intent was to deprive them of their freedom.

3. Can you kidnap your own child?

Because kidnapping technically involves the element of unlawful detention, taking your own child against the will of the other parent is more likely to be considered abduction rather than kidnapping.

This is where the law of child abduction by a parent can get complex, as it is still considered an abduction even if the child consents to go with you or asks you to take them.

Abductions can also happen by accident if you don’t fully understand the custody arrangement and mistakenly keep your child longer than you were supposed to.

4. What are the best defences for a kidnapping charge?

A lawyer can assist you in defending against a charge of kidnapping by assessing the evidence to determine whether the Crown prosecutor can even prove all the elements of the offence of kidnapping beyond a reasonable doubt.

Your lawyer may also consider some further factors for your defence, such as whether the complainant actually provided their consent to be moved. A kidnapping charge depends on proof that the individual was moved against their will.

Additionally, if you were under duress or were coerced into the offence (through blackmail or a threat of violence), it may be that you have a viable defence to your charges.

I’ve Been Charged With Kidnapping/Abduction. What Should I Do?

DDSG Criminal Law has a number of expert lawyers with years of experience in this area. Contact us today to learn more.

Lawyers with a practice interest in Kidnapping