Interfering With Political Liberty

– section 28 of the Crimes Act 1914

 
Note: This offence has been repealed
 
Interfering with Political Liberty is when you use violence or threats to prevent someone else from their political right or duty to do something.

Examples of Interfering with Political Liberty
  • A group of advocates for a political party threaten voters outside polling booths not to vote for an opposition party.
  • A man punches a Minister of Parliament while he is out meeting people from his electorate.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Interfering with Political Liberty?
  • You did not do anything violent or threatening.
  • You did not interfere with anyone’s political liberty.

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
  • What did you actually do?
  • What do they think you did?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 3 years.

This offence may be heard in either the Magistrates’ Court or the County Court.

“Did you threaten a politician?”
What is the legal definition of Interfering with Political Liberty?

A person hinders or interferes with another person’s political right or duty, using violence, threats, or intimidation of any kind.

Legislation

The section that covers this offence is section 28 of the Crimes Act 1914.1

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

If you are found guilty and your conduct is serious, for example you have used violence to prevent someone from carrying out a political duty, then you may get a prison sentence. However, for minor conduct like empty threats, you may only get a fine or a Community Corrections Order.

Other Important Resources

 


[1] Crimes Act 1914 – Section 28

Any person who, by violence or by threats or intimidation of any kind, hinders or interferes with the free exercise or performance, by any other person, of any political right or duty, commits an offence.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years.