The charge of Blackmail is usually laid when someone tries to force another person to do something by threatening them.
Examples of Blackmail
- Someone demands $20,000 in exchange for not publishing naked photos of another person online.
- Someone says he will poison his ex-partner’s dog if she doesn’t agree to restart their relationship.
- A builder threatens to hurt the family of an ex-client that refuses to pay a bill for dangerously faulty construction work.
What are some of the possible defences to a Blackmail charge?
- There was no intention to threaten the other person.
- There were reasonable grounds to demand that the other person do something, and the threat was a lawful way of reinforcing the demand.
Questions in cases like this
- Was there a breakdown of communication?
- Was there a legal and reasonable expectation that the other person do something?
Maximum penalty and court that deals with Blackmail
The maximum penalty for Blackmail is 15 years. It is an indictable charge, which means that it must be heard in the County Court.
What is the legal definition of Blackmail?
The legal definition of Blackmail has 5 basic parts:
- Someone demands something from another person;
- The demand is made in order to make a gain, or to cause a loss to the other person;
- The demand is made with threats;
- The threats are real; and
- The demand is unreasonable.
The section that covers this offence is section 87 of the Crimes Act 1958.
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
Blackmail is a serious offence but can come in many forms. More serious examples would often attract gaol terms.
Sentencing outcomes in the higher courts
From July 2011 to June 2016, there were a total of 50 cases of Blackmail that were sentenced in the higher courts of Victoria. The majority of these cases led to Community Correction Order (40%) and Imprisonment (38%).
Other sentencing results include: Wholly Suspended Sentence (8%), Partially Suspended Sentence (6%), Adjourned Undertaking / Discharge / Dismissal (4%), Community-Based Order (2%), and Fine (2%).
The longest prison term imposed was between 8 and 9 years but this was given in only 5.3% of the charges that led to imprisonment. Most of the charges that received a prison term were sentenced to less than two years (52.6%).
Are you facing a charge of Blackmail? Call a lawyer and get your case evaluated. Doogue + George Defence Lawyers provides legal representation to any person charged with Blackmail and other criminal offences, in any Victorian court. Ask for legal advice.
To view other resources about this charge, you may visit this page where this article was originally published: https://www.criminal-lawyers.com.au/offences/blackmail.