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. This 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

  • A minimum of five years imprisonment for a first offence where a firearm is used and the kidnapping is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal organisation. For subsequent offences, a minimum of seven years imprisonment
  • A minimum of four years imprisonment where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence
  • A minimum of five years imprisonment if the victim is under the age of 16 (except if the perpetrator is a parent, guardian, or a person having the lawful care or charge of the person)
  • Life imprisonment is the maximum available penalty for any form of kidnapping

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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kidnapping Charges In Alberta

Although abduction and kidnapping are similar, abduction is defined as unlawfully taking a child away from their legal guardian or parent. It also includes different categories of abduction such as:

  • Parental child abduction
  • Stranger abduction
  • Non-family abduction

In order to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a kidnapping occurred, the Crown Prosecutor must show that:

  • The victim was taken from one place to another without their consent
  • The victim was confined
  • That the accused had no lawful authority to take the complainant
  • The accused’s intent was to deprive them of their freedom

As 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 your custody arrangement or family court order, and mistakenly keep your child longer than you were supposed to.

A lawyer can assist you in defending against a charge of kidnapping by assessing the evidence to determine whether the Crown Prosecutor can 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, it may be that you have a viable defence to your charges.

Lawyers with a practice interest in Kidnapping

Lauren Garcia

Lauren L. Garcia

Senior Partner

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Kathryn Quinlan

Kathryn A. Quinlan

Senior Partner

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Alexandra Seaman

Alexandra K. Seaman

Senior Partner

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Lance McClean

Lance McClean

Managing Partner

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Jordan McDermott

Jordan McDermott

Associate Lawyer

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