Blackmail Key Facts

Maximum Penalty

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

Possible Defences

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

What Is Blackmail?

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.

What Is The Maximum Penalty For Blackmail?

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.

What Are The Possible Defences For Blackmail?

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.

What The Prosecution Must Prove

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.

Case Studies For Similar Offences

We have defended thousands of criminal cases over many decades and constantly achieve outstanding results for our clients. Please view our results by clicking the cases below:

Need help?
Just get in touch.

Call us on (08) 8110 7900 to make an appointment with one of the knowledgeable lawyers for assistance with your matter.