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The offence of intimidation or stalking is contained in section 13 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. Section 13 provides: “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 an offence.” The maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of 50 penalty units.

Intimidation can be defined as:

  • Harassment;

  • Contact with a person which causes that person to fear for his or her safety; or

  • Conduct that causes a person to fear for their safety or the safety of their family or partner.

Stalking involves following a person, or approaching or attending a person’s home or place of work, or any other place they attend regularly without their knowledge, or to their awareness but against their wishes.

In order for you to be found guilty of stalking or intimidation, the prosecution must prove that your conduct amounted to either stalking or intimidation and that you intended that person to fear mental or physical harm.

Stalking and intimidation, amongst other offences,  can also occur over the internet or use of a carriage service. The Criminal Code Act 1995 provides for Telecommunication offences throughout Australia. The legislated offences and heavy statutory penalties were introduced in response to the growing use of social media and the use of other telecommunication services to communicate with others but also harass them.

A telecommunications offence can be committed through many different mechanisms, including, but not limited to: telephone calls, text messages, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and communication via other social media sites and applications. Examples of offensive conduct that might occur through the use of a carriage or telecommunications service include:

  • Use carriage service to menace, harass, and offend.

  • Sharing Sexual Images and videos.

  • Revenge Porn (threatening to send or publish intimate images of another without their consent).

  • Publish indecent article on social media.

  • Online Stalking or Trolling.

  • Possessing, controlling, producing, supplying or obtaining child pornography material for use through a carriage service.

It is important that you contact a lawyer and seek immediate legal advice if you are charged with a telecommunications, stalking or intimidation offence. As with any criminal offence, the prosecution must prove all the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have a defence available, the prosecution must negate that defence beyond reasonable doubt if the Court is to find you guilty. If you are charged with a criminal offence, please contact KF Lawyers to arrange for a consultation to discuss potential defences and range of sentences that are available in your situation.

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