Blackmail

Blackmail

Blackmail is in section 87 of the Crimes Act 1958 in Victoria. It is committed by a person who was found to have tried to force another person to do something by means of threatening them.

Have you been accused of Blackmail?

Police Interview
If you are being interviewed for Blackmail, it is vital that you contact an experienced criminal lawyer for advice before you speak with the police. If you are being interviewed the police are most likely looking to charge you regardless of any explanation you try to offer. The decision you make about how to conduct yourself in the interview is important.

We can help find out information about the allegation for you, such as:

  • will I be remanded,
  • what type of evidence to they have against me?
We will help you answer questions such as should I give a no comment interview, or should I respond to their questions? A police interview can be an intimidating event, particularly when facing a Blackmail charge. We can give you expert advice and be with you at the interview.

Pleading Not Guilty
If pleading not guilty to this charge, you will need a lawyer who has experience handling an allegation of Blackmail. Your lawyer should pursue the prosecution to provide all disclosure items, and issue subpoenas for any other material which may be relevant to your defence. A case like this needs to be strongly defended by scrutinizing the police evidence.

Our lawyers will engage in careful and methodical preparation so that you have the best opportunity to successfully defend the charge of Blackmail.

Pleading Guilty
If you are pleading guilty to Blackmail, it will require very careful and full preparation. Your lawyer will need to take a complete life history so that your lawyer can understand how your life experiences may have contributed to the offending.

We will advise you on what material will need to be obtained to tender to the Court and will assist you in gathering reports and reference material so the sentencing Judge has a complete understanding of you.

Sentencing
Sentencing in the higher courts of Victoria Sentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Blackmail in the Higher Courts
It is an indictable charge, which means it must be heard in the County Court.
 
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 is the legal definition of Blackmail?
The legal definition of Blackmail has 5 basic parts:

  1. Someone demands something from another person;
  2. The demand is made in order to make a gain, or to cause a loss to the other person;
  3. The demand is made with threats;
  4. The threats are real; and
  5. The demand is unreasonable.
Legislation
The section that covers this offence is section 87 of the Crimes Act 1958.1

Elements of the offence
For an accused to be found guilty of Blackmail, the following elements must be proven by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused made any unwarranted demand with menaces, and
  2. The accused, in making said demand, had a view to gain for himself or for another, or had an intent to cause loss to another.
“Was there actually a threat?”

  • 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.
Our client told a woman that he would reveal their affair to her husband unless she continued to have sex with him. He pleaded guilty to blackmail.
Questions in cases like this
  • Was there a breakdown of communication?
  • Was there a legal and reasonable expectation that the other person do something?

The maximum penalty for Blackmail (s87 of the Crimes Act 1958) is imprisonment for 15 years.