Threats to Kill

by Doogue & O'Brien Criminal Defence Lawyers

How serious is Threats to Kill? What’s the maximum penalty and which Melbourne Court hears the charge?

Threats to Kill is considered to be a serious offence which often carries a prison term on a finding of guilt. There is a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment for anyone found guilty of this charge.

The Magistrates’ Court hears cases involving this offence.


The legislation on Threats to Kill

Section 20 of the Crimes Act 1958 is the relevant law for Threats to Kill and is as follows:


Threats to Kill


A person who, without lawful excuse, makes to another person a threat to kill that other person or any other person-


   (a)  intending that that other person would fear the threat would be carried out; or


   (b)  being reckless as to whether or not that other person would fear the threat would be carried out-


is guilty of an indictable offence. Penalty: Level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).


Pleading guilty or not guilty to Threats to Kill in a Melbourne Court

Deciding on whether to plead guilty to Threats to Kill or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal defence solicitor. If you are found guilty, there could be severe consequences.


Elements of the charge of a Threats to Kill case in a Melbourne Court

The Prosecution must show that a defendant made a threat to a person to kill that person or another person. It is important for the defendant to have either intended for the person to fear that the threat would be carried out, or for the defendant to have been reckless as to whether the person to whom the threat was made would so fear.


Defending the charge of Threats to Kill in a Melbourne Court

Defending the charge of Threats to Kill often involves a factual dispute. Issues relevant to the presence or absence of intent, or recklessness, are also normally raised in Court. Other criminal defences include mental impairment and others that depend on the circumstances of the case.


For more information on Threats to Kill, you may visit the Australian Defence Lawyers Association site (click here) and also the Doogue & O’Brien Melbourne Criminal Lawyers site (here).

Doogue & O’Brien Melbourne can provide you more detail about this

Our Head Office is at 5/221 Queen Street, Melbourne         

Phone (03) 9670 5111 (24 hrs if you are in a Police Station)


This article was written on Aug. 8, 2012 and relates to the law that it stands at this time.



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