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Threats To Kill

It is an offence to threaten to kill another person, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.

Penalties the Court can impose for this charge:

The Offence of Threats to Kill

The offence of making threats to kill is contained in s 20 of the Crimes Act 1958, which states: “A person who, without lawful excuse, makes to another person a threat to kill that other person or any other 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 –

is guilty of an indictable offence”.

What Actions Might Constitute Making Threats to Kill

  • Telling another person over the phone that you intend to kill their mother;
  • Sending a text message to a girlfriend stating that you will “kill her”; or,
  • Writing on the internet that you intend to kill another person.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict you of threatening to kill, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you made a threat to another person;
  • That the threat was to kill that person or some other person;
  • That the threat was made without lawful excuse; and,
  • That you either:
    • intended that the other person would fear that the threat would be carried out; or,
    • were reckless as to whether that person would so fear.

Possible Defences to Making Threats to Kill

  • Police cannot prove the offence
  • Self-defence
  • Lack of intent
  • Non-self induced intoxication
  • Duress

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.

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