Our skilled lawyers at Caldicott Lawyers are experts in defending blackmail offences.

A person who menaces another person in order to get the other to submit to a demand is guilty of blackmail [Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) s 172]. Examples of blackmail include demanding marriage or access to children under the threat of violence or demanding money under the threat of violence.

The maximum penalties for blackmail are:

  • 15 years’ imprisonment (if a basic offence)
  • 20 years’ imprisonment (if an aggravated offence)

Whether the offence is aggravated depends on whether offence
occurred under certain aggravating circumstances. These are listed in s 5AA in Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA). They include (but are not limited to) factors such as whether to offence was committed:

  • using a weapon;
  • against a police officer;
  • against a victim under the age of 12 or over the age of 60;
  • against a victim who had a particular relationship to the offender (e.g., a child, spouse or domestic partner);
  • in association with a criminal organisation;
  • whilst the offender was in a position of authority or trust;
  • against a victim who was in a position of vulnerability because of physical disability or cognitive impairment.

It may be a defence to the charge that you:

  • were under duress;
  • have a factual dispute;
  • had a lack of intention;
  • identification dispute; or
  • suffer from a mental impairment.

If you are charged with blackmail, the prosecution must prove that:

  • You menaced another person, that is:
    • You threatened harm to that person or a third person (to be inflicted by you or someone else);
    • The threat was unwarranted; and
    • It was reasonable that the other person would take that threat seriously (or the other person took the threat seriously because of a particular vulnerability known by you); and

  • You menaced that person with the intention to get them tosubmit to a demand.
  • The object of the demand is irrelevant.