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7.4.16.1 - Charge: Extortion

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This charge is designed for use where it is alleged that the accused committed extortion with a threat to kill (Crimes Act 1958 s27). It can be adapted for use where the accused is charged with:

• Extortion with a threat to injure (Crimes Act 1958 s27);

• Extortion with a threat to endanger life (Crimes Act 1958 s27);

• Extortion with a threat to destroy property (Crimes Act 1958 s28); or

• Extortion with a threat to endanger property (Crimes Act 1958 s28).

 

Elements

I must now direct you about the crime of extortion with a threat to kill. To prove this crime, the prosecution must prove the following 3 elements beyond reasonable doubt:

One – The accused made a demand.

Two – The accused reinforced the demand with a threat to kill.

Three – The accused intended the complainant to fear that the threat would be carried out if s/he didn’t comply with the demand.

I will now explain each of these elements in more detail.

The Accused Made a Demand

The first element that the prosecution must prove is that the accused made a demand.

The demand does not need to have been clearly spelt out or made explicit. A person can make a demand indirectly or implicitly. This element will be met if a reasonable person would have understood that a demand was being made in the circumstances.

[Insert relevant evidence and arguments].

The Demand was Accompanied by a Threat

The second element that the prosecution must prove is that the accused reinforced the demand with a threat to kill another person. In this case it is alleged that NOA threatened to kill [NOC/NO3P] by [describe threat].[1]

[Add any of the following directions that are relevant to the case.]

In determining whether the accused has made a threat to kill, you must take into account all of the circumstances of the alleged threat [if relevant add: including the relationship between NOA and NOC].

It is important to note that you do not need to find that NOC thought that NOA would carry out the threat. Similarly, you do not need to determine whether NOA intended to carry out the threat. The question is whether or not NOA made a threat to kill.

[Insert relevant evidence and arguments.]

It is only if you are satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the accused made a threat to kill in the sense that I have described that this second element will be met.

The Accused Intended to Cause Fear

The third element that the prosecution must prove is that the accused intended the complainant to fear that the threat would be carried out if s/he didn’t comply with the demand.

It does not matter whether or not NOC actually felt any alarm or fear. This element only requires proof that the accused intended that NOC would fear that the threat would be carried out.

[Insert relevant evidence and arguments.]

Summary

To summarise, before you can find NOA guilty of extortion with threat to kill, the prosecution must prove to you, beyond reasonable doubt:

One – that NOA made a demand; and

Two – that NOA reinforced the demand with a threat to kill another person; and

Three – that NOA intended NOC to fear that the threat would be carried out if s/he didn’t comply with the demand.

If you find that any of these elements have not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, then you must find NOA not guilty of extortion with threat to kill.

 

Notes

[1] - This charge must be adapted if the prosecution alleges that the accused threatened to engage in conduct that would endanger the life of another.

Last updated: 4 December 2012

See Also

7.4.16 - Extortion

7.4.16.2 - Checklist: Extortion