What is a Document Containing Threat?

You will be charged with this offence is you send a letter or communications which threatens to harm or kill somebody. The penalties if convicted are severe. Even though you can be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in jail, this offence is normally dealt with in the Local Court so a two year maximum jail sentence applies.

The threats do not have to be specific or detailed. You can pin a note on your next door neighbour’s front door stating “You will be next” as part of a minor dispute and you can end up being charged.

Section 31 of Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) provides that:

A person who intentionally or recklessly, and knowing its contents, sends or delivers, or directly or indirectly causes to be received, any document threatening to kill or inflict bodily harm on any person is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

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What The Prosecution Must Prove

  • That you intentionally or recklessly did an act;
  • That act caused a letter or document to be sent, delivered or received by someone;
  • That letter or document threatened to either kill or inflict bodily harm on another person; and
  • You knew the contents of the document or letter.

Each of these elements must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.