Intimidation and stalking
Stalking or intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm is a criminal offence under Section 13 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007
Section 13 of The Act states:
(1) A person who stalks or intimidates another person with the intention of causing them to fear physical or mental harm is guilty of an offence.
This offence also applies to a person who causes another person to fear that physical or mental harm is being done to someone with whom they have a domestic relationship.
A person is considered to intend 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.
There is no requirement for the prosecution (police) to prove that the person alleged to have been stalked or intimidated actually feared physical or mental harm.
Attempting to intimidate or stalk a person is also an offence and the same penalties apply.
What is intimidation and stalking?
Stalking can take many forms but will always involve a persistent course of conduct or series of actions which cause distress, loss of control, fear or harassment to another person. These actions must occur more than once and the alleged victim must feel intimated or fearful.
Such actions can include:
- Following a person
- Frequenting the area of a person’s place of residence, business or work, gym or other places where the person goes without a legitimate reason to be there
- Repeatedly spying on someone
- Sexual innuendo
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- Messages left on social media sites (such as Facebook, Myspace etc.)
- Notes left on a person’s car
- Leaving unwanted gifts or items at a person’s home
- Continually staring at a person
- Threatening behavior
- Using a mobile phone app to track someone’s whereabouts
This offence is a table offence and therefore usually heard in the Local Court, however these matters may occasionally be heard in the District or Supreme Court.
For the offence of intimidation and stalking there is a penalty of a maximum imprisonment of 5 years and / or a substantial fine.
If you have been charged with the offence of intimidation or stalking you need to seek urgent legal advice to discuss the details of your case and to explore any defences that may be available to you. Call William Vahl, Accredited Criminal Law Specialist with over 25 years experience representing people charged with criminal offences 24/7 on 0400 446424 or office hours on 9955 2298.