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Blackmail

Blackmail is an offence under Section 249K of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You made an unwarranted demand
  2. That demand was made with menaces, and
  3. You intended to obtain a gain or cause a loss, or to influence the exercise of a public duty.

A demand is unwarranted unless there are reasonable grounds for making it. A demand is made with menaces if it includes an express or implied threat of any action detrimental or unpleasant to the other person.

A threat to an individual does not constitutional a menace include:

  1. It would cause a person of ‘normal stability and courage’ to act unwillingly, or
  2. It would cause the particular individual to act unwillingly where the maker is aware of the other person’s vulnerability to that threat

A ‘gain’ can be money or other property, whether the gain is temporary or permanent, and includes keeping what one has.

A ‘loss’ can be money or other property whether the loss is temporary or permanent, and includes not getting what one might get.

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