Blackmail/ Demand Property With Menace/ Extortion By Threats
What the law says
Section 416 of the Criminal Code states: 416. Any person who, with intent to extort or gain any property or benefit or the performance of services from a person-
(a) accuses or threatens to accuse any person of committing any indictable offence, or offering or making any solicitation or threat to any person as an inducement to commit or permit the commission of any indictable offence; or (b) threatens that any person shall be accused by any other person of any indictable offence or any such acts; or (c) Knowing of the contents of the document, causes any person to receive any document containing any such accusation or threat as aforesaid is guilty of an offence.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.
- The accused with intent to extort or gain; any property, benefit or performance of services from any person;
- (a) Accuses or threatens to accuse a person of; committing an indictable offence or offering or making any solicitation or threat to any person as an inducement to commit or permit the commission of any indictable offence. Or
- (b) Threatens that any person shall be accused by any other person of any indictable offence of any such acts. or
- (c) Knowing the contents of a document causes any person to receive in writing which contains such threat or accusation.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.
The Maximum penalty for the offence of Blackmail, Demand property with menace and Extortion by threats may be life imprisonment depending on the circumstances of the charges.
Which court will hear the matter
This matter is an indictable offence and is heard in the District Court.
Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to
- The offence is a civil demand
- Identification ie not the accused
Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Blackmail/Extortion matters)