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Threatening or Intimidating a Public Justice Official

Threatening or intimidating a public justice is an offence under section 322(d) 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 did or caused any injury or detriment to a person or threatened to do so
  2. The person was a public justice official, and
  3. You intended by your actions to influence the person’s conduct as a public justice official in or in connection with any judicial proceeding.

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.

It includes:

  1. Police officers
  2. Police prosecutors
  3. DPP solicitors, and
  4. Crown prosecutors.

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

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.

The maximum penalty increases to 14 years in prison where the prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you intended by your conduct to procure the conviction or acquittal of any person for a serious indictable offence.

A ‘serious indictable offence’ is one that carries a maximum penalty of at least 5 years in prison.

Defences to the charge include:

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

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