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Committing Reprisals Against Judges, Witnesses, Jurors or Public Justice Officials

Committing reprisals against judges, witnesses, jurors or public justice officials is an offence under section 326(1) 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 threatened to do or cause, or did or caused, any injury or detriment to a person
  2. The person was a witness or juror in judicial proceedings, or a judicial officer, or a public justice official acting in connection with judicial proceedings, and
  3. Your actions were due to anything lawfully done by the person in their role as a witness, juror, judicial officer or public justice official.

A ‘judicial officer’ is a person who is, or who alone or with others constitutes, a judicial tribunal.

A ‘judicial tribunal’ is any person or any court or other body authorised by law or by the consent of the parties to conduct a hearing to determine any matter or thing.

This includes:

  1. A Coroner
  2. A Magistrate in the Local or Children’s court
  3. A Judge in the District Court, and
  4. A Justice in the Supreme or High Court.

A ‘public justice official’ is a person employed in any capacity by any government agency, department or organisation for the investigation, detection or prosecution of offenders, except for a judicial officer such as a magistrate, judge or justice of a court or tribunal.

This includes:

  1. A police officer
  2. A police prosecutor
  3. A DPP solicitor, and
  4. A crown prosecutor.

A ‘judicial proceeding’ is one in or before which a judicial tribunal can take evidence under oath.

It is immaterial whether your actions were wholly or partly due to the actions of the witness, juror, judicial officer or public justice official.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress, and
  2. Self-defence, including the defence of another.

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