A person who stalks or intimidates another person with the intention of causing the other person to fear physical or mental harm is guilty of a criminal offence.
It requires either an intention to cause the relevant fear or recklessness as to inducement of such fear in the mind of the complainant, but the degree of recklessness is that required at common law for the offence of murder (s13(3)) in that what is required is the appreciation of the likelihood (as opposed to a mere possibility) that fear will be induced.
Defences to stalking
There are a number of defences available for the charge of stalking and / or Intimidation. For example, a legal argument may be that there is a lack of evidence that all the elements of the offence can be proved beyond reasonable doubt. It may be argued that the accused did not have the necessary intent and did not intend to cause any fear of harm.
Another defence could be that the accused had a legitimate reason for the behaviour, such as working in the same location.
General criminal law defences may also apply and can include:
Necessity – where a person is compelled by a threat of danger to commit the offence; or
Duress – where a person commits the offence due to pressure or undue persuasion by another person.
Stalking or intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm is a serious offence. If convicted, the maximum penalties are;
- District Court: The maximum penalty is imprisonment for up to 5 years and/or a $5,500 fine.
- Local Court: The maximum penalty is imprisonment for up to 2 years and/or a $5,500 fine.
Our award-winning criminal law team can assist if you have been charged with stalking or intimidation. We have the experience and expertise necessary to ensure you receive the best possible outcome – call our office on 02 4324 5688 to book a private and confidential discussion.
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