Extortion with Threats to Destroy or Endanger Property

– section 28 of the Crimes Act 1958

Broken Car Windshield
Extortion with Threats to Destroy or Endanger Property is when you demand something from someone else and threaten to destroy or endanger the safety of certain property if they don’t meet your demand.

Examples of extortion with threats to destroy or endanger property
  • A person demands that another person pay them $10,000, and threatens to damage the victim’s car if they are not paid the money.
  • A person demands the Council protects native trees and threatens to burn down Council offices if they don’t do it.
Possible defences
  • You did not make any demand;
  • You did not threaten a certain type of property.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Did you make any demands on another person?
  • Did you say or do anything to threaten a certain type of property?
  • Does the person making the claim have a reason for why they would lie about this?

Legal Court

Legal definition of the offence

A person who makes a demand of another person with a threat to destroy, or endanger the safety of, a building, structure in the nature of a building, bridge, mine, aircraft, vessel, motor vehicle, railway engine or railway carriage is guilty of an indictable offence.

Elements of the offence

For a person to be found guilty of this offence, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused made a demand;
  2. The demand was accompanied by a threat to destroy or endanger a specific type of property unless the demand was complied with; and
  3. The accused intended the complainant to fear that the threat would be carried out unless the demand was complied with.

Element 1: The accused made a demand
The accused must make a demand of the victim. The demand need not be made with a view to gain something or cause loss (i.e. blackmail).1

The demand may be made implicitly or explicitly.2 A statement phrased as a request can be construed as a demand in certain circumstances (for example when it is accompanied by a threat).3 Other circumstances such as the accused’s demeanor are also relevant when determining whether a demand has been made.4

A demand may not have been made in circumstances where an accused is able rescind the demand before the complainant has received it, for example if the demand has been drafted in an e-mail but has not been sent yet.5

Element 2: The demand was accompanied by a threat to destroy or endanger a specific type of property unless the demand was complied with
The demand must be accompanied by a threat to destroy or damage the following property to satisfy the second element of the offence:6

  • Building;
  • Structure in the nature of a building;
  • Bridge;
  • Mine;
  • Aircraft;
  • Vessel;
  • Motor vehicle;
  • Railway engine; or
  • Railway carriage.

Element 3: The accused intended the complainant to fear that the threat would be carried out unless the demand was complied with
The accused must have intended that the complainant would fear that the threat would be carried out unless the demand was complied with.7 The prosecution does not need to prove that the accused intended to actually carry out the threat.8
 
Call Doogue + George
 



[1] Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 87
[2] R v Lambert [2010] 1 Cr App R 21
[3] R v Lambert [2010] 1 Cr App R 21
[4] R v Lambert [2010] 1 Cr App R 21
[5] Austin v The Queen (1989) 166 CLR 669
[6] Crimes Act 1958 s 28
[7] R v Dixon-Jenkins (1985) 14 A Crim R 372
[8] R v Dixon-Jenkins (1985) 14 A Crim R 372