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  • How do Judges view attempted extortion?

    In previous, long winded post, I asked this question but it probably got lost in all the other details. We have a case conference in January and I need to get a better understanding how judges will see this.

    My ex and I worked together (same building, different areas) and we were seperated for about a year. She was unhappy with our mediated agreement and decided to trash talk about me at work. She passed on my tax info to coworkers, which was exchanged through the mediation process for CS.

    She also broke into my computer at work, I believe using an old password I left in our insurance policy (stupid, I know). She deleted some stuff and accessed some personal files, then shared that with at least one, if not more co-workers. This actually led to a series of about 45 emails from an "unknown" person attempting to extort me. The gist was: "Give up the kids, take every other weekend and pay child support and be real man." And yes, they told me that "real men" give up their kids and pay child support.

    The police were involved, as well as our employer in trying to figure out who it was, though I have a really good idea. The person(s) were not figured out, though I feel they should have been because I had the ip address from the emails (sent using Hotmail which includes the senders IP).

    Because I use security software to protect my passwords, I could tell someone had accessed my computer when I wasn't at work. I eventually got a confession that my ex did indeed access my computer without authorization. And I did manage to record that conversation. The extortionists also made mention of the computers files, as well as my tax info in their emails.

    I actually lost my job because of this. It was causing too much of a disturbance in the work place (the emails were going to other managers as well). Now the employer won't admit this was the reason as that would make them liable, but I was just a bench tech and my ex is a manger. The other person I think is involved is also a manger. They weren't going to fire 2 managers. They did give me a severance but obviously it's not cool loosing a job you've had for over 6 years.

    My ex has admitted to two parts (divulging taxes and hacking my computer), though no charges were ever laid by the police.

    Obviously my ex has now decided to try to get a wage imputed on me while I sort out my life.

    So the question is, will the judge just see this as stupid divorced people doing stupid things and ignore it, or will they consider it as serious as I do?

  • #2
    Originally posted by minefield View Post

    I actually lost my job because of this. It was causing too much of a disturbance in the work place (the emails were going to other managers as well). .................................. They did give me a severance but obviously it's not cool loosing a job you've had for over 6 years.
    I can't comment on the Family Court's view of what happened but I hope you didn't sign off on any future claims that the employer may be liable for.

    Assuming you were not a unionized employee, have you contacted the Labour Board regarding unfair dismissal?

    Comment


    • #3
      It's not in the jurisdiction of family court, so what do expect a judge to do? Award you custody when it might otherwise be joint? Spank her?

      The issue is irrelevant to the issues you need a family law judge to settle. If you want to bring it up, then you need to show how it is relevant to the FLA.

      I suppose what you could do is request some type of non-contact order due to her hostile actions against you. If you did this it would bring into question whether joint custody would work. If you aren't likely to get joint custody, then go for the non-contact order. If it were me, I wouldn't want to be on speaking terms with her either.

      Comment


      • #4
        This currently relates to her request for full custody, we have joint/shared custody now. She's filed in court, not me. And as I expected, ex's seem to do whatever they like and judges are most likely to shrug.

        I don't expect the judge to impose any punishment, I'm not even seeking the typical retaliatory full custody response. But there is a pattern to her behaviour, and it is only getting worse. Sadly nothing can be done it seems.

        As for dealing with the former company, I don't have time to fight and nothing will ever be fully proven. It's not worth fighting over. Employment laws don't mean much, and any person can be dismissed for any reason, as long as severance is provided.

        Comment


        • #5
          You have no recourse through family Law.

          You could bring it up as a means of painting a portrait of character with respect to your ex, but it will most likely be viewed as irrelevent.

          Family law is not about 'punishment' for stupid acts.

          Comment


          • #6
            You can play this one of two ways, but not both.

            You can argue to keep joint/shared custody on the basis of about 20 different ways the chld is thriving and you will detail each one. You will show examples of every effort you make to co-operate with her and be puzzled over why she would seek sole custody. You will praise her as a good mum and state that your child is growing up amazingly due the efforts you both put in.

            Or you can agree with her that there should be sole custody. You produce factual evidence of the tricks she played on you. You state that she has had an ongoing irrational hostility toward you and that there is no trust available. You state, as above, that you believe that your child needs both parents in their life, but that you do not trust your ex not to continue the hostility and you don't believe she will co-operate with you as a parent. You argue that due to the hostility that is directed at you from her, she cannot be made custodial parent because it is in the child's interests that the parent's co-operate. You show that you are not like her, and give multiple examples of how you make every effort to include her in decision making, ask her opinion, inform her of events, and encourage a good relationship between her and your child, as well as extended family on her side. In this way you argue for full-custody to you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by minefield View Post
              In previous, long winded post, I asked this question but it probably got lost in all the other details. We have a case conference in January and I need to get a better understanding how judges will see this.

              My ex and I worked together (same building, different areas) and we were seperated for about a year. She was unhappy with our mediated agreement and decided to trash talk about me at work. She passed on my tax info to coworkers, which was exchanged through the mediation process for CS.

              She also broke into my computer at work, I believe using an old password I left in our insurance policy (stupid, I know). She deleted some stuff and accessed some personal files, then shared that with at least one, if not more co-workers. This actually led to a series of about 45 emails from an "unknown" person attempting to extort me. The gist was: "Give up the kids, take every other weekend and pay child support and be real man." And yes, they told me that "real men" give up their kids and pay child support.

              The police were involved, as well as our employer in trying to figure out who it was, though I have a really good idea. The person(s) were not figured out, though I feel they should have been because I had the ip address from the emails (sent using Hotmail which includes the senders IP).

              Because I use security software to protect my passwords, I could tell someone had accessed my computer when I wasn't at work. I eventually got a confession that my ex did indeed access my computer without authorization. And I did manage to record that conversation. The extortionists also made mention of the computers files, as well as my tax info in their emails.

              I actually lost my job because of this. It was causing too much of a disturbance in the work place (the emails were going to other managers as well). Now the employer won't admit this was the reason as that would make them liable, but I was just a bench tech and my ex is a manger. The other person I think is involved is also a manger. They weren't going to fire 2 managers. They did give me a severance but obviously it's not cool loosing a job you've had for over 6 years.

              My ex has admitted to two parts (divulging taxes and hacking my computer), though no charges were ever laid by the police.

              Obviously my ex has now decided to try to get a wage imputed on me while I sort out my life.

              So the question is, will the judge just see this as stupid divorced people doing stupid things and ignore it, or will they consider it as serious as I do?
              Extortion ("blackmail") is a criminal offense. If your evidence to all this is this good (as you state) why haven't you retained a criminal defense lawyer to review the evidence.

              You can bring forward a Norwitch order to get the name of the person who was criminally harassing you at work from the IP addresses contained in the email headers.

              Norwich Order: Obtaining Crucial Information Before Commencing Litigation :: Hicks Morley ::

              Norwich orders take time but, if you have the content and it was sent to you directly you can gain an order for the ISP to release the name of the sender to the court so you can proceed.

              I am sure if your evidence is as good as you state the Crown can bring forward a Norwich order to identify the person whom is harassing you in this manner.

              It really isn't about family law at this point but, potentially a criminal matter in such that you are being threatened in contravention of the Criminal Code possibly and possibly defamation of character.

              But, remember, your conduct in all this will be before the court too. You present a one sided view in your message but, it is doubtful you would lose your job for being harassed in this manner. I suspect something else happened.

              Finally, all that a CC judge can do is order a motion be heard. The "evidence" you are providing here will only fast-track your matter to trial... and fast.

              Good Luck!
              Tayken

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Tayken and Mess. As one sided as this sounds, I assure you it is not. My ex is the manager of a research lab, and her very good friend was my manager for the lab I worked in. We all worked for the same director. And you are probably right that the dismissal wasn't directly related to the harrassement. There is strong evidence that my lab manager was heavily involved in this. It's amazing what you can find in someone's browser history when they leave work. Not enough for the police to lay charges, but enough to give me a clear picture. The efforts to get me to leave started about 5 months before my dismissal. One example is that my manager withheld signing my pay sheets for "ethical reasons".

                Basically, this was friends working together for the benefit of one person.

                I am very good at documenting things (science background) so I have no doubt I can show this chain of events. Plus the police have lots of info. The Norwich Order looks like a good option.

                My only goal with the question was to see whether I should focus much energy on this aspect. I understand that Family Court is about the kids, and I agree, hence why I'm not filing for full custody. My ex is a good mother and I would never take that away from my kids. However, she's not a good person towards me. I'll also talk to my lawyer about this.

                I like Mess' option of keeping joint/shared custody using other methods, I really don't want to increase conflict. Though I still intend to bring up the extortion, as it bothers be that my ex takes the liberty to disparage me all the time. Our current agreement even includes a section on not doing this!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by minefield View Post
                  She also broke into my computer at work, I believe using an old password I left in our insurance policy (stupid, I know). She deleted some stuff and accessed some personal files, then shared that with at least one, if not more co-workers.
                  Originally posted by minefield View Post
                  There is strong evidence that my lab manager was heavily involved in this. It's amazing what you can find in someone's browser history when they leave work. Not enough for the police to lay charges, but enough to give me a clear picture.
                  So, you don't have any issue with your ex and/or co-worker accessing the information on your computer, just more of an issue of what they did with/to it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The issue with breaking into my computer was the invasion of privacy. The things they deleted, I just undeleted them (benefits of automated backups). They threatened to use stuff against me, though they didn't get anything so it was a lot of empty threats. Annoying, but not enough to cause me serious concern.

                    I was actually more worried about the involvement of one of my ex's ex-boyfriends and possible escalation. I did start to sleep with a fire-poker beside my bed. I grew up in a house that didn't lock the doors at night, this incident changed that for me, sadly.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was struck by a few of your remarks in your summary:

                      1. You have admitted that your ex is a terrific mother and that you just don't like the way she treats you.

                      2. You mentioned that you went on someone else's computer at work and took a look-see at their browser.

                      3. A wrongful dismissal suit against your employer isn't worth your while even though you alleged extortion.

                      Considering what you've posted, in my opinion you are likely traumatized by the loss of your spouse, job and the impending loss of the custody of your child. I think you should get some counselling to help you to move forward. I'd try to put the cloak and dagger away for now and focus on responding to the papers. If she is a good parent then focus on that part and try to work out a fair arrangement.

                      On the wrongful dismissal part, you would need to get advice from a labor lawyer. If there is no collective agreement in place, then it would be a court action rather than arbitration. Am I correct in assuming you received some sort of compensation at the time you were dismissed? Have you been able to find the same sort of employment? When you go for wrongful dismissal you would be suing for "damages" which would primarily loss of income. Yes an employer can fire anyone they want but the world of labor law is as convoluted as family law when it comes to settlements.

                      In summary, the two matters are separate. The employer could very well state that your personal problems were the cause of your being terminated.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Interesting. Yes, my ex is a good mother (i.e. taking care of the kids) but she also has different motives as to why she wants full custody (i.e. money). That's where she's not good, and she's using the courts for her own personal gain, not for the benefit of the kids. Having me removed from shared, to EOW would hurt them badly and I won't let that happen.

                        2. Looking at someones browser history on a shared lab computer is different than breaking into password protected files. And when you suspect someone is trying to wreck your life, you'd seek out answers as well. The police were fine with it as well.

                        3. Wrongful dismissal requires proof. Lots of people rattle their swords but my employer offered a reasonable severance, and obviously they put some thought into it because I'd get more in court, but not much more after legal fees and time. Plus I wouldn't have recieved anything at the time and this type of thing could drag on. I pick my battles. Opening wars on two fronts is not a good idea, I'm better off working on my career.

                        I'm not traumatized, though I do feel stressed about all of this. I have come to a mediated agreement 3 times (Apil 2011, November 2011 and March 2012) with my ex. Each time, she's threatened court action, I ask for mediation, we come to an agreement and a few months later she fires up the legal machine again. Usually on something small. The agreements are extremely generous toward her, but some people are never happy. Actually she's a bit money hungry.

                        So the questions posted here are to help focus my strategy on how to deal with this latest attempt because obviously what I've been doing in the past isn't working. I also want to avoid causing hardship on anyone (the ex, kids or myself) becuase in the end the kids get hurt the most.

                        As to my thinking on the extortion bit, if my ex feels that a judge would come down hard on her for it (high conflict personality) she might back off from the legal threats, and accept that she's pushed things far enough. If the judges don't care about these things, I need a better strategy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm not clear on where the extortion exists. I must be missing something.

                          I do know judges try to keep things focused on the matters at hand, namely child custody, division of matrimonial property and child and spousal support. How and why you aren't working might get a raised eyebrow at most.

                          It sounds like you have been trying to be reasonable. Have you given any thought to encouraging her to make a trial date and of course emphasizing that the losing party would be expected to pay all legal costs? Sometimes a person has to pull back on the amount of communication and let the other side sit and stew for a while.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The extortion part came from a series of almost daily emails for about a month and half. The person(s) threatened to post stuff to my my Facebook page, publish my tax info, have the CRA audit me and other annoying stuff if I didn't drop shared custody and take EOW, which would result in me paying child support (my ex actually owes me a small amount monthly, which I don't collect to try to keep things calm). I had two jobs, one with a public persona (writer), so they were trying to destroy that as well. Most of it I didn't care about because a lot of my life is public so I don't go around making a fool of myself. But it doesn't make their actions acceptable on any level.

                            I am working, but not at two jobs anymore, so my income has decreased, but I make enough to support my kids and myself still. Though my ex is now worried that she'll have to pay me more, though after 2 years she hasn't paid me a penny anyway.

                            We have a case conference in January (her lawyer scheduled it back in September) and I asked for mediation as per our agreement, which is in December.

                            I did send a letter to her lawyer saying this was silly and if we do go to court I will be seeking full costs as well as immediate repayment of the outstanding balance on the house. I recieved the typical response that I was being threatening and the courts frown upon that, though everything I said in the letter is the same stuff I filed with the court. Also he said I have a very weak case. It's all just head games they play.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I"m glad you realize that the letter from the other's lawyer is just positioning.

                              CRA does not do audits just because someone's ex "rats" on them. If a complaint comes in which isn't substantiated they tend to put them in file 13.

                              You should get every penny that is owed to you and not worry about what anyone thinks. Put it in a college fund if it makes you feels better. CS is the right of the child they say, and I believe it is your responsibility to ensure that the proper amount is paid each and every month of the year. You both are highly educated so the calculations would not be difficult to understand.

                              While I think your ex played some nasty tricks on you I believe it would fall short of calling it extortion. Unfortunately what happened to you happens to many of us. I get similar threats on a monthly basis from my ex. It's just rubbish.

                              Calling her bluff might be your best bet. If you do communicate again with her lawyer make your position clear.... time for negotiation has long past.

                              Comment

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