Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Is Blackmail A Crime? (NSW)
Is blackmail a crime? The answer is yes. The offence of blackmail is committed when one person makes a demand on another person for specified property, and that demand is accompanied by threat or force.
Section 249K(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 codifies the offence of blackmail as where a person makes any unwarranted demand with menaces with the intention to:
- obtain a gain or cause a loss
- influence the exercise of a public duty.
It carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
The maximum increases to 14 years imprisonment where the person threatens to commit a serious indictable offence, such as robbery or assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Section 249L states a demand is considered unwarranted “unless the person believes that he or she has reasonable grounds for making the demand and reasonably believes that the use of the menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand”.
“Menaces” is defined by Section 249M to include:
- an express or implied threat of any action detrimental or unpleasant to another person, and
- a general threat of detrimental or unpleasant action that is implied because the person making the unwarranted demand holds a public office.
A threat against an individual does not constitute a menace unless it would cause:
- an individual of normal stability and courage to act unwillingly in response to the threat, or
- the particular individual to act unwillingly in response to the threat and the person who makes the threat is aware of the vulnerability of the particular individual to the threat.
A threat against a government or body corporate does not constitute a menace unless it would:
- ordinarily cause an unwilling response, or
- cause an unwilling response because of a particular vulnerability of which the person making the threat is aware.
In any case, it is immaterial whether the menaces relate to action to be taken by the person making the demand.
Section 249N defines “gain, ”obtaining a gain”, “loss” and “causing a loss”.
A “gain” is defined as a gain in money or other property, temporarily or permanently, and “obtaining” means for oneself or another. A “loss” is defined as a loss in money or other property, temporarily or permanently, and “causing” means causing a loss to another.
Section 249O defines “public duty” as a power, authority, duty or function conferred upon the person as the holder of a public office or that a person holds themselves out as having as the holder of a public office.
What actions might constitute blackmail?
A person can be convicted of blackmail even if the benefit was never obtained or the threat was never carried out. The issue is whether there was an intention to obtain gain or cause a loss.
The threat can be express or implied. It can be made without the use of words, but implied via body language or gestures.
Examples of blackmail include:
- a person demanding access to children under the threat of violence;
- a person demanding money in exchange for not publishing naked photos of another person;
- a person threatening to poison an ex-partner’s pet if the ex-partner does not agree to resume the relationship.
What must the police prove?
Beyond a reasonable doubt, the police must prove that a person:
- Made an unwarranted demand with menaces; and
- In making the demand, the person intended to:
- obtain a gain;
- cause a loss;
- influence the exercise of a public duty.
Questions will be asked from an objective point of view, with the court considering whether a person of “reasonable firmness and courage” would have considered the conduct to be a threat.
What possible defences are there?
The accused person could argue that:
- their actions did not constitute menaces;
- they did not intend to gain a benefit or cause a loss;
- they were forced to blackmail someone because they were under duress from another party.
Apart from the penalties listed in s249K, a court can impose penalties including:
- a fine;
- a Community Service Order;
- a suspended sentence;
- an Intensive Correction Order;
- home detention;
Which court will hear the matter?
A blackmail charge can be heard in a Local Court unless either the prosecution or the person charged elects otherwise.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please call Armstrong Legal.
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WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
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