– Common Law
False Imprisonment is when you hold someone else against their will.
Examples of False Imprisonment
- A woman owes a man money. The man ties the woman up in his car and drives her to her parents’ house forcing her to ask her parents for the money.
- A man gets into a fight with his partner and locks her in the house for two days.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of False Imprisonment?
- The other person was not held against their will.
- The other person was able to leave the situation if they wanted to.
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 forcibly hold someone else against their will?
- Could the other person get away?
- Can they prove that you held someone against their will?
Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge
The maximum penalty for this offence is level 5 imprisonment (10 years).
This is a strictly indictable charge which means that your case must be heard in the County Court.
“Did you restrain someone so they couldn’t get away?”
What is the legal definition of False Imprisonment?
False imprisonment is a common law offence, so the legal definition is found in case law. The Prosecution must show that you intentionally and unlawfully restrained the liberty of another person against his or her will.
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
False imprisonment is regarded as a serious offence because the Court takes the deprivation of a person’s liberty very seriously. However, it is not always easy for the Prosecution to make out. If you have clearly deprived someone else of their liberty and are found guilty for this offence then you are likely to face some time in prison. Your prison term will depend on the circumstances surrounding your actions, like the way you restrained the other person and the length of time they were detained. As such there is no clear cut sentence for this charge.
Other Important Resources
- Judicial College: Bench Book. False Imprisonment
- Statistics: Common law – false imprisonment
- Victorian Sentencing Manuel: False Imprisonment