A B.C. father accused of criminally harassing his ex-wife will not be released from jail while he awaits trial.

Patrick Fox, 42, from Burnaby, B.C., was arrested by RCMP last week, accused of using emails and posts of a website to harass his ex-wife, Desiree Capuano, who lives in Arizona.

Capuano has full custody of their teenage son and has been separated from Fox since the boy was a toddler.

In addition to the criminal harassment charge, Fox is also charged with possession of registered firearms in an unauthorized location and with illegally exporting those guns across the border.

A provincial court judge denied his request for bail. 

Capuano says she’s relieved that Fox is staying behind bars while the case is proceeding.

“I’m very thankful to the Crown for understanding the seriousness of the situation and taking action,” said Capuano.

Kevin Westell, a lawyer who reviewed the case, says it’s easier today for people to just ‘hide behind your desk and your computer and stalk.’ (CBC)

Criminal harassment is usually the charge laid when someone is physically stalked. The fact that this case involves allegations of online and email harassment has many in the legal community watching closely.

“This case may be a sign that police are recognizing and taking very seriously the harm that can be done by way of a website as opposed to direct communication like a text message or email,” said Kevin Westell, a lawyer and prosecutor in Vancouver.  

“The publication of false information meant to harass and humiliate is now being treated as potentially criminal as opposed to merely libellous or slanderous,” he said.

Fox will be back in B.C. provincial court on July 7.

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