There is a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment for a person found guilty of the charge of Stalking.
Stalking is the sort of charge regularly heard in the Magistrates Court.
This charge is generally laid in situations where a person engages in a course of conduct that is listed in the section for this offence, and that the conduct causes physical or mental harm to the victim, or an apprehension or fear in the victim for their safety or the safety of any other person.
In essence, to prove that someone is guilty of this charge, the Prosecution must show that the accused engaged in at least one of the acts listed in the section for this offence and that the act caused physical or mental harm to the victim, or aroused apprehension or fear in the victim for their safety or the safety of another person. The accused must have engaged in the conduct with the intention of causing that harm to the victim.
Stalking comes in many forms and there is an excellent clinic at Forensicare that treats the more extreme forms of stalking. It is the sort of conduct where a psychological report is extremely important on a plea of guilty. The reason for this is that the behavior needs to be placed in a context as to what is underlying it.
Defences to this charge are often factual disputes or issues related to mental impairment.
Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.
This is legislation that comes from section 21A of the Crimes Act 1958.
Further law information can be found on the Australian Defence Lawyers Association site.