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Extortion with Threats to Kill

In Victoria, the offence of Extortion with Threats to Kill is in section 27 of the Crimes Act 1958, which is a demand for property accompanied with a threat to kill if the demand is not met.

Has the Police accused or charged you with Extortion with Threats to Kill? If so, you will undoubtedly have important questions you would like answered. Call our firm to arrange a time to speak with one of our experienced specialist criminal defence lawyers who can help you deal with this charge.
 
We are criminal lawyers who specialise in criminal defence work and have assisted many people charged with Extortion with Threats to Kill.

Police interview
It is important that you receive legal advice before speaking with Police. We can advise you about what should be said during a Police interview. You may have questions about the interview process, what to expect, what you are obliged to answer, what you are not obliged to answer or say, if you will be bailed.

If the Police want to speak with you about an allegation of Extortion with Threats to Kill, speak with one of our experienced lawyers first. We can help you to explain what happened in the clearest way.

Our lawyers can also attend the Police station with you. Some people like to have someone there to help you through the process.

Pleading not guilty
We are defence lawyers who specialise in Extortion with Threats to Kill and we can devise a case strategy for you. We have in-house counsel who run our contested hearings and trials who can get involved from the beginning if you are accused of Extortion with Threats to Kill. This is a great option because you will have two lawyers working on your case from the very beginning.

In a case like this, you want a lawyer who is going to be proactive and immediately request material from the Police which can expose the fault lines in the Police case against you.

By requesting material from Police, it may lead to a charge of Extortion with Threats to Kill to be withdrawn or an acquittal at trial.

We believe it is very important for our clients to understand what they are facing. Preparing a case strategy early will increase the chances of this charge being withdrawn or leading to an acquittal.

Pleading guilty
If you are pleading guilty to Extortion with Threats to Kill, we can represent you at your Plea Hearing. We advise our clients on everything they need to know before entering a plea of guilty. We can advise you how to prepare your plea to get the possible outcome in Court. We will help you to arrange reports and documents that will help avoid a prison sentence. Call us and discuss how to get the best result.
This offence is an indictable offence and is dealt with in the County Court.
 
The legislation: Extortion With Threats to Kill
Section 27 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) states:

A person who makes a demand of another person—

  1. with a threat to kill or inflict injury on a person (other than the offender or an accomplice of the offender); or
  2. with a threat in circumstances where, if the threat were carried out, the life of a person (other than the offender or an accomplice of the offender) would be endangered—
is guilty of an indictable offence.

Penalty: Level 4 imprisonment (15 years maximum).


Some examples of this offence
  • Telling someone to give you money or you will kill them if they don’t.
  • Telling someone to give you money while pointing at a weapon such as a knife or gun.
  • Sending someone a text message or an email telling them that you will kill them if they don’t do as you say.
  • Sending someone a picture of you holding a weapon and telling them to give you money or property.
  • A drug dealer demands payment from a user and threatens to kill him if he does not pay.
  • A man blackmails another man and demands secret information. If he doesn’t receive the information he says he will kill the other man.
The elements
The Prosecution must satisfy the following elements beyond reasonable doubt to prove an someone has extorted another with threats to kill:

  1. you made a demand;
  2. you accompanied the demand with a threat to kill; and
  3. you intended to make the other person believe that the threat will be carried out if the demand is not met.
“Can they prove you threatened to kill someone?”
Mental elements
The Prosecution does not have to prove that the complainant thought that you would carry out the threat or felt alarmed. They only have to prove that you intended to make the complainant believe that you would carry out the threat whether you were actually going to do it or not.
 
  • You did not make a threat to kill, just to injure or hurt.
  • The context of your comments would not cause a reasonable person to believe you were serious.
  • You did not demand anything.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.
 

Extortion With Threats to Kill (s27 of the Crimes Act 1958) is a serious offence which attracts up to 15 years in gaol.

Sentencing in the higher courts
From 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2016, the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria heard a total of 24 cases involving 46 charges of Extortion With Threats to Kill. Most of these cases resulted in a prison sentence at 58.3%. Other sentences imposed were: Community Correction Order (16.7%), wholly suspended sentence (12.5%), partially suspended sentence (8.3%), and fine (4.2%).

Of the prison terms imposed, the most frequent was for 3 < 4 years (28.6%) although the longest period given was for 6 < 7 years (14.3%).1

Please note that suspended sentences were abolished in the higher courts earlier than that of the Magistrates’ Court, and therefore all offences committed on or after 1 September 2013 will not have this available as a sentencing option.2


[1] SACStat Higher Courts – Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) : s 27 – extortion with threat to kill or injure < https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/higher_courts/HC_6231_27.html >
[2] Suspended Sentence | The Sentencing Advisory Council < https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/about-sentencing/sentencing-options-for-adults/suspended-sentence >