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Death Threats, or Threats of Violence

Death or Physical Threats

Threatening to harm of kill someone in NSW is a criminal offence. The likelihood of conviction is based on a number of different factors, however, it is important to recognise that a simple threat is enough for you to receive a criminal conviction.

Using a Carriage Service

On 28 December 2017, published an article where a man was charged with the offence of “using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend” after sending National’s leader Barnaby Joyce a bullet in the mail, along with a letter which included a number of issues and gripes. The not so subtle message was received loud and clear and the case against the Armidale man is significant.

Using the postal service to make a threat of violence is Commonwealth offence under section 474.17 Criminal Code Act. However, “carriage service” can also telecommunication and digital services. If the threat is made in person (or not using a carriage service) each State has specific legislation to deal with the offence.

NSW Legislation

In NSW a death threat, even if no physical contact or harm has occurred, may be dealt with under the provisions for Common Assault, section 61 Crimes Act . The leading case that identifies the concept of threats is Barton v Armstrong [1969] 2 NSWR 451.


f there is a threat to hit or strike a person, even where the distance would make it impossible at the time of the threat for it to occur; if the recipient of the threat has fear instilled, then an offence may have occurred. This concept is identified in Barton v Armstrong and more recently in R v Mostyn [2004] NSWCCA 97.

What do I do if I have threated a person and now facing charges?

Important to recognise, if convicted in NSW of Common Assault you could face up to two years in prison, and it is a very significant charge. You should contact Armstrong Legal immediately for an obligation free consultation on 1300 168 676 to plan your defence.

Image Credit – Iakov Filimonov ©

Written by Tyson Brown on May 15, 2018

Tyson has a down to earth, straightforward approach to life and the law, one which is well received by all who meet him. Tyson has the ability to relate to all clients on a personal level, having spent many years prior to his legal career in customer service and hospitality. View Tyson's profile

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