Stalking & Intimidation
Stalking or intimidating another person with the intention of causing the person to fear physical or mental harm is criminal offence under section 13 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 NSW. This act states that:
- 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.
- For the purposes of this section, causing a person to fear physical or mental harm includes causing the person to fear physical or mental harm to another person with whom he or she has a domestic relationship.
- For the purposes of this section, a person intends to cause fear of physical or mental harm if he or she knows that the conduct is likely to cause fear in the other person.
- For the purposes of this section, the prosecution is not required to prove that the person is alleged to have been stalked or intimidated actually feared physical or mental harm.
- A person who attempts to commit offence against subsection 1 is guilty of an offence against that subsection and is punishable as if the offence attempted has been committed.
As seen in section 13 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 NSW, there are significant penalties for the crime of stalking an intimidation. The Act states that anyone who has been found guilty of the crime is liable to a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and/or 50 penalty units; equating to a $5,500 fine. This punishment is typically reserved for the most serious offenders and can only be applied If the matter is dealt with in the District Court. Alternatively, If the matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the maximum punishment for stalking and intimidation is a 2-year full time gaol term and/or a 50 penalty units, equating a $5,500 fine.
However, the Court also has the ability to enforce other penalties that are seen fit for the individual case. Depending on the circumstances and with the help of experience criminal defence lawyers, the Court may enforce punishments such as home detention, community corrections orders, intensive corrections orders, or or conditional release orders. The matter could even potentially be dealt with by the means of a section 10 dismissal in appropriate situations. It is also not uncommon to see the enforcement of Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOS), in which the offender must adhere to strict conditions such as refraining from contact or remain a certain distance from the victim. If these conditions are broken, an offender will need to reappear before the Court, where they may be subject to harsher penalties.
Criminal convictions can greatly impact an individual’s liberty and lifestyle. If you, or someone you is facing charges in relation to stalking and intimidation, contact our expert criminal defence lawyers for more accurate advice on the penalties that could apply to your situation.
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To prove an offence and be found guilty of stalking, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have:
- Followed a person, or
- Watched or approached a person at their workplace, home or other social outing;
- With intent to cause physical or mental harm.
Meanwhile, to prove and offence of intimidation, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have engaged in conduct that:
- Amounts to harassment or molestation; or
- Have approached a person by any means, including text messages or emails; and
- Your approach has cause a person to fear for their safety
If you choose agree and plead guilty to stalking and intimidation charges made against you, and the prosecution team is able to prove that you did commit the offence as set out in section 13 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 NSW) it is likely that you will face the penalties listed above.
However, your guilty plea often shows remorse in the eyes of the Court and could result in a less severe penalty. For example, if the circumstances surrounding the charge are not deemed serious and you have no prior criminal history, you may have the matter dealt with by a section 10 dismissal. The Court could also enforce penalties such as community corrections orders, intensive correction orders or conditional release orders, if it is determined that these punishments are sufficient and fair for the particular offence.
If you do not believe the allegations made against you, you have the option to plead not guilty. In this instance, the case will proceed to a trial in which the prosecution will present evidence to the Court in order to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offence was committed. If they are successful, you may be facing the penalties mentioned above.
However, as expert criminal defence lawyers, it is our job to negate the allegations made by the prosecution on your behalf. In order to do so, we thoroughly scrutinise the evidence provided by the prosecution and provide contradictory evidence that will dismiss these claims. Our expert criminal defence lawyers will raise an appropriate defence strategy that could entirely dismiss the charges set against you, or provide a partial defence, in which the charges will be downgraded and less significant penalty will be imposed.
With a 90% success rate, our team is dedicated to achieving the best possible solution for all the cases we represent. If you, or someone you know is facing charges of stalking and intimidation is best to seek legal representation immediately. Contact our domestic violence lawyers now for a confidential consultation.
At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are experienced in domestic violence legal services. Our Sydney based domestic violence lawyers may use the following defence strategies to negate the prosecutions allegations.
Duress: Involves the use of detrimental threats from an unjust aggressor that has pressured the accused to participate in stalking and intimidation. Examples of such threats that may justify such behaviour could include death threats or warnings of grievous bodily harm. The accused must firmly believe that if they did not commit the offence that the threat would have taken place.
Necessity: Comprises of situations in which the defendant debates that their actions are acceptable and justifiable as they were in imminent danger by either human or natural forces. To prove that acts were a form of necessity, it must be established that the unlawful act was only undertaken in order to avoid particular consequences that are deemed as “irreparable evil”. The individual must also genuinely believe that they were in a situation of “imminent peril” and that were no other alternatives to avoid the impending threat.
Self-Defence: Situations in which actions were taken to defend confrontations and harm by and unjust aggressor may constitute self defence. Self defence occurs in circumstances in which the accused aims to protect property, themselves or another person from harm by the aggressor.
The matter of stalking and intimidation is typically dealt with in the Local Court unless elected otherwise. If an election has been made by either yourself or the prosecution, the matter will be finalised in the District Court in which the penalties are more severe.
At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are a leading criminal defence law firm with expertise in domestic violence legal services. Our team has extensive experiencing in representing such matters in Local, District and Supreme Courts throughout NSW. With a numerous industry awards and a 90% success rate, you can be confident that our criminal defence lawyers are dedicated to achieving the best outcome possible for your case, regardless of the Court your matter is heard at.
For a first consultation, contact our domestic violence lawyers now.