Threats to Inflict Serious Injury
In Victoria, the maximum penalty for the offence of Threats to Inflict Serious Injury is 5 years’ imprisonment.
Penalties the Court can impose for Threat to Inflict Serious Injury:
- Imprisonment (Jail – Full Time)
- Community Corrections Orders
- Adjourned undertaking
The Offence of Threats to Inflict Serious Injury:
The offence of Threats to Inflict Serious Injury is contained in Section 21 of the Crimes Act 1958 which states: A person is guilty of an indictable offence where that person, without lawful excuse, makes to another person a threat to inflict serious injury on that other person or another person:
- Intending that that other person would fear the threat would be carried out; or
- Being reckless as to whether or not that other person would fear the threat would be carried out.
What the Police Must Prove:
To find you guilty of Threatening to Inflict Serious Injury, the police must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You made a threat to the complainant to inflict serious injury upon either the complainant or another person; and
- You either –
- Intended the complainant to fear that the threat would be carried out; or
- Were reckless as to whether or not the complainant would fear that the threat would be carried out; and
- The threat was made without lawful excuse.
Nature of the threat
The threat must be to inflict serious injury upon either the complainant or another person. In other words, while the prosecution must prove that the complainant received the threat, he or she does not need to be the person threatened.
Further, the threat can be conditional on the occurrence of a future event. This means that it is not necessary that you have the immediate capacity or intention to carry out the threat.
Intentionally or Recklessly?
To prove intention, all of the circumstances of the threatening statement or conduct must be considered. You do not need to have intended to carry out the threat. Rather, the relevant issue is whether you intended the complainant to believe that the threat would be carried out. The motive for making the threat is irrelevant.
For the threat to have been made recklessly, you must have been aware, when you made the threat, that it was ‘probable’ or ‘likely’ that the complainant would fear that it would be carried out. It is not sufficient if you were only aware that this fear was merely ‘possible’ or ‘might’ result from your actions. It is also not sufficient that a reasonable person in your circumstances would have realised that the complainant would probably fear the threat.
What Actions Might Constitute a Threat to Inflict Serious Injury?
Threatening to stab or shoot another person might constitute this offence.
Possible Defences for Threat to Inflict Serious Injury:
Possible defences to a charge of Threat to Inflict Serious Injury include but are not limited to:
- Self defence/defence of another.
- Lack of intent/factual dispute.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter ?
So long as the accused consents, the charge will generally be heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. If there are other more serious charges or if the accused does not consent to the Magistrates’ Court hearing the matter, the matter can be committed to the County Court of Victoria.