Stalking / Intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm.
The offence of stalking or intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm generally occurs in the context of domestic relationships. It is designed to ensure that a person is protected from abusive, controlling and sometimes manipulative behaviours of others.
Commonly, these offences occur at the end of a relationship when one party may be angry and emotionally distressed. However, this is not always the case. If you are charged with this offence, it is important to determine all the facts so that strategies for your defence can be identified. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will guide you through the process and outline the options available to you.
What is the offence?
“A person who stalks or intimidates another person with the intention of causing the other person to fear physical or mental harm is guilty of an offence.”
What are the applicable penalties?
In the Local Court, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment and a fine of $5,500. In the District Court, the maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $5,500.
What must the prosecution prove?
The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had:
- Intention to cause fear of physical or mental harm and;
- That their behaviour(s) committed or attempted to constitute stalking or intimidation.
It is important to note that it need not be proven that the victim actually felt fear of physical or mental harm. You can still be convicted in the absence of such a finding, provided it is proven that you intended to cause fear of physical or mental harm.
What if I plead guilty?
If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced accordingly. The Magistrate or Judge will look at the unique circumstances of your case and your personal profile (e.g. history of offending, employment) in arriving at an appropriate sentence. Early guilty pleas entered will attract a discount on sentencing.
What sentencing options are available?
- Custodial sentence (jail): While the Courts view this as a last resort, it is available
- Intensive Corrections Order (ICO): The Court has determined that a jail term is appropriate. However, it has elected that you serve your sentence in the community. An assessment report from Corrective Services to determine your suitability is required before you are sentenced to an ICO. You may be required to comply with conditions such as mandatory counselling, treatment and abstinence from alcohol (where applicable);
- Community Corrections Order (CCO): A sentence to be served within the community may be imposed as an alternative to imprisonment. The standard conditions not to commit further offences and to report to the Court when called to do so are applicable. In addition, the Court can impose other conditions such as non-association or supervision conditions.
- Conditional Release Order (CRO) (with or without conviction): Similar to previous good behaviour bonds, the Court requires you to not commit further offences for a period set by the Court, as well as to report to the Court at any time during the CRO. A CRO may be given with or without a conviction, meaning with or without a conviction to appear on your criminal record.
- Fine: The Court can fine you a sum of money regarding your personal financial circumstances.
What if I plead not guilty?
If you plead not guilty, your defence representative may make legal arguments to the effect that your conduct did not amount to a stalking/intimidation offence. A disputed facts hearing may also take place in contention of the facts put forward by the Police officers that charged you.
What defences are available?
The following defences may be available to you:
- No intent (that you did not intend to cause fear of physical or mental harm);
- Necessity (that you committed the offence out of necessity);
- Self-defence (that you committed the offence in self-defence)
- Duress (that you were forced to commit the offence).
What does “intimidation” mean?
Intimidation is defined under Section 7 Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act. Intimidation involves:
- Acting in a way that amounts to harassment or molestation; or
- Approaching someone in a way that causes fear of safety (this involves approaching someone by texting, calling, emailing or other technologically means); or
- Doing something that causes ‘reasonable apprehension’ of injury, violence or damage to someone or that person’s property.
Intimidation can occur through either words or actions. Intimidation often involves threats that result in fear for safety or violence or even an attempt to pressure another person to do a certain act that causes fear of violence or harassment.
Examples of “intimidation.”
- Making conditional threats to someone (e.g. “if you don’t do X, I will do Y”)
- Loitering around someone’s house such that it causes a reasonable apprehension of violence or damage to their person or property;
- Being overbearing by SMS causes the other person to fear for their safety;
- Following the other person.
What does “stalking” mean?
Stalking is defined under section 8 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. Stalking involves:
- Following a person; or watching a person, or approaching a person;
- at their place of residence, business or work, or at a place that a person frequents for the purposes of any social or leisure activity.
The essence of stalking is repeated activity by a person which is persistent and controlling against another person. The victim may feel overpowered and overwhelmed by the stalker’s actions and feel a loss of control.
Examples of “stalking.”
- Constant phone calls and/or text messages;
- Leaving notes daily on the other person’s doorstep;
- Sending unwanted gifts;
- Following them from a car
- Spying on someone.
We can help
As with any legal matter, the devil is in the details. With your defence representative, we closely scrutinise all the relevant facts of your case and formulate the best way forward. Your prospects of a fair and just outcome are increased with strong legal representation.
Fourtree Lawyers have extensive experience assisting clients on the Central Coast with matters related to Stalk/Intimidation. Our lawyers can explain and guide you through the entire Court process and work with you to minimise the legal ramifications of your offence. Instructing a lawyer to act on your behalf will ensure you fully understand your position and your options. It will assist you in getting the best possible results for your particular case.
Contact our Central Coast Lawyers on 1300 529 444 as soon as possible. The earlier we can start building a strong case for you, the higher your chance of getting a good outcome.
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- Resist | Assault Police
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- Stalk | Intimidate
Kevin and Jane are without a doubt 100% there to support you through Your whole ordeal reassuring you all the way My experience from finding Fourtree Lawyers on Google in a fairly unsure position, reading the reviews to the successful outcomes was the only referral I had, believe me when I say you will be happy with their experience in all fields of law which is insurmountable and they will obtain the best favourable outcome in any circumstance. Fourtree Lawyers are there for you to bring things back into perspective...
“Kevin and Jane were my “knights in shining armour.” I can’t thank these two people enough. They gave their everything and most important believed me when I told them my story. I am forever grateful for their professional attitude and for giving 100% to free me from my nightmare. I was able to plead guilty but also most importantly was not forced to lie and compromise my integrity and own personal values and standards. I was very happy with the outcome and the way I was treated. They communicated constantly...
Had the most amazing experience with Fourtree Lawyers kevin vierboom who represented my partner was helpful and understanding and we got a great result better then expected ? jane hogan, I was so blessed to have her by my side. They are an amazing team and i would recommend them to everyone also great value for money. Especially considering i only called the morning of the court case and they were all over it at my bek and call thankyou so much guys im so appreciative for all your help today
I was lucky enough to have Kevin take my case and am truly grateful for the services he and his team provided. From the outset, I was made to feel comfortable and knew from the first time meeting with them that they would go above and beyond to get the best possible outcome and that is exactly what they did. Fourtree Lawyers provides exceptional service with outstanding results and I would recommend Kevin to anyone and everyone who is in need of these services.
Section 32 - Common Assault, Stalk Intimidate - Gosford Local Court
Our client was a 42-year-old male, the father of a young child embroiled in a family law dispute. He had been retired from the Police Force with PSTD after a distinguished career of service to the community. He was charged with common assault and stalk intimidate after a misunderstanding during an arranged parenting handover.
He strenuously denied the allegations and after all of the aspects of the case were considered, solicitor Kevin Vierboom made a Section 32 Application under the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990. After hearing extensive oral and written submissions and consideration of a detailed psychiatric report, the Magistrate allowed the section 32 application and dismissed the charges on the condition that our client enters into treatment under the care of his psychologist.
No conviction CRO | Stalk/Intimidate; Destroy or Damage Property | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 30-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast. He is employed as a sports instructor for children with disabilities. Our client’s partner ended their relationship abruptly. While attempting to collect his personal property in a carpark, an altercation took place. Our client was charged with destroying/damaging property and stalking/intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical/mental harm. These offences carry a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.
Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions to the Magistrate that this was his first appearance before any court, our client's previous good character and his contribution to the community. The Magistrate found our client guilty without recording a conviction and ordered that he enter a Conditional Release Order for 24 months.
Our client was very relieved to retain an unblemished criminal record so that he could continue working with children.
No Conviction CRO | Stalk/Intimidate | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 39-year-old female who lives on the Central Coast. She is employed in hospitality and is studying aged care. She has 3 children and is actively involved in their school and sporting activities.
Our client argued with another driver in a shopping centre car park. The Police charged our client with stalk/intimidate intend fear, physical etc. harm (personal) T2. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and/or $5,500. Solicitor Denise McCarthy made submissions to the Magistrate that our client was considered a responsible member of the community who attends diligently to her family and work commitments. Ms McCarthy also submitted that a criminal conviction would derail our client's future career plans.
The Magistrate found our client guilty and ordered a 12-month Conditional Release Order without proceeding to conviction. Our client was immensely grateful for the outcome.
Charge Dismissed & AVO Withdrawn | Stalk/Intimidate | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 26-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast. He is employed as a metal fabricator. He had been in a domestic relationship with a partner which had recently broken down.
After an evening out together in an attempt to reconcile the relationship, a disagreement took place and the parties went their separate ways. It was alleged that later in the evening, our client caused the other party to be fearful and he was charged with stalk/intimidate intend fear etc., harm (domestic). This offence carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and a $5,500 fine.
Our client instructed us that he was “not guilty” of this offence and the matter was set down for hearing. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions to the Magistrate that the Police had no evidence to support the allegations. The Police Prosecutor conceded that they had no evidence and the charge was dismissed and the AVO was withdrawn.
Our client was pleased to retain his clean criminal record and not have to deal with the consequences of an AVO.
Section 10(1)(b) & Section 19B(1)(d) – Stalk/intimidate & Use Carriage Service to menace/harass/offend – Gosford Local Court
Our client, a 47-year-old male living on the Central Coast with his wife, was charged with stalk/intimidate & Use Carriage Service to menace/harass/offend. The maximum penalties for these offences are 5 years and 3 years imprisonment, respectively. Our client was an ex-serviceman and was suffering from severe PTSD. He was being treated for anxiety, depression and was being investigated for dissociative disorder. Our client had no recollection of the events which lead to the charges being laid.
Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made extensive submissions to the Magistrate, noting our client’s contribution to our country, his unblemished record, his previous good character and tendered medical reports supporting his extensive mental health issues. The Magistrate felt that our client should be given a chance and dismissed the charges pursuant to Section 10(1)(b) and Section 19B(1)(d) on the condition that he be of good behaviour for 18 months.
Our client and his wife were both in tears when they heard the result.
Community Service | Possess unauthorised firearm, Stalk/Intimidate, Use unregistered vehicle | Gosford Local Court
Our client was a 20-year-old student who lives in the Hunter region. He was charged with several very serious offences, two of which had maximum penalties of 2-5 years imprisonment. This was his first time before the courts.
Our client suffers from major depression, anxiety and panic attack disorder. Fourtree Lawyers made extensive submissions as to our client's previous good character and his career aspirations.
The Magistrate considered the offences to be very serious and felt that a gaol term was appropriate. Our Solicitor pleaded for the court's consideration of a pre-sentence report which was finally granted. The pre-sentence report determined that our client would be suitable for Community Service. Our client was very relieved to avoid a full-time custodial sentence.
Common Assault, Destroy/Damage Property & Stalk/Intimidate | Withdrawn & Conditional Release Order | Toronto Local Court
Our client is a 41-year-old male who had recently separated from his partner of 13 months.
Since the relationship had broken down, there had been multiple requests for our client to move out. Several arguments took place and on the last occasion the Police were called, our client was arrested and conveyed to Toronto Police Station.
Our client was charged with two counts of Common Assault (DV), which carries the max. penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500, one count of Destroy/Damage Property – DV related which carries a max. penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500 and one count of Stalk/intimidate, which carries the max penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500.
Principal Solicitor Kevin Vierboom attended Toronto Local Court and entered into negotiations with the Police Prosecutor. Accordingly, one of the Common Assault charges and the Stalk/Intimidate charge were both withdrawn. For the second charge of Common Assault and the charge of Destroy/Damage Property, our client was found guilty without proceeding to conviction and sentenced to two Conditional Release Orders for a period of 12 months.
Our client was thrilled he was able to avoid a criminal conviction.
Stalk Intimidate intend fear | CRO Without Conviction | Wyong Local Court
Our client is a 53-year-old male residing in the Central Coast Area. Our client resides in the main house, with his partner, on a property with the victims in a granny flat out the back.
Our client and the victim in the matter had lived on the same property for 3 months. Since that time, they have had a strained relationship. The incident happened when an argument broke out between the two and our client threatened that he would ‘bash’ them if they did not leave. Our client was charged with Stalk/intimidate intend fear, physical, harm etc. (personal). This offence carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a $5,500 fine.
Our client entered a plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity, which was taken into account by the Magistrate. Our solicitor, Luke Del Monte, attended Wyong Local Court on behalf of the client. Her Honour saw fit to place our client on a Conditional Release Order without a conviction.
Our client was ecstatic that a conviction was not entered on his record.
Stalk / Intimidate x 3 | CRO with No Conviction | Hornsby Local Court
Our client is a 40-year-old male that lives in the Sydney region. At the time of the offences, our client was residing with the victims in a share house arrangement.
It was alleged that our client used inappropriate language and made verbal threats towards the victim/s whilst intoxicated. He was arrested and made full admissions in relation to his behaviour.
Our client was charged with 3 counts of stalk/intimidate with the intent to cause fear of physical harm under section 13(1) of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. In the local court, the maximum penalty for this offence is 2 years of imprisonment and/or a $5,500 fine for each offence.
Our principal solicitor, Kevin Vierboom, attended Hornsby Court and made submissions on behalf of our client. He was found guilty without proceeding to a conviction and was sentenced to a Conditional Release Order for a period of 12 months.
Our client was very grateful for such a good outcome.
Stalk / intimidate, armed with intent to commit indictable offence | Withdrawn and Dismissed | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 30-year-old woman who resides in Gosford.
She allegedly threatened a man, whom she had known for about three months, with a knife and chased him after a verbal altercation at the victim’s house.
She was charged with stalk/ intimidation, as well as armed with intent to commit an indictable offence.
The maximum penalty for this offence is five years imprisonment and/or a fine of $11,000.
Solicitor Luke Del Monte appeared in court on behalf of our client who attended through video link.
The complainant was absent and could not be contacted. As such both charges were withdrawn by the prosecutor and dismissed by the Magistrate.
Our client was extremely happy with this result.
Stalk/Intimidate & ADVO | Not Guilty, Withdrawn & Dismissed | Maitland Local Court
Our client is a 38 -year-old male who resides in the Hunter Valley.
At the time, our client and the victim had been separated for four months following a 17-year relationship. It was alleged our client followed the victim and their children around for a period of time. This action was triggered by a phone call between our client and his children during which the victim called our client various profanities.
The victim went to the police station to report this behaviour. Our client was arrested and cautioned soon after and an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order was applied for.
The maximum penalty for stalk/intimidate charges are two years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5500.
At a defended hearing, the complainant did not appear in court which forced the Crown to withdraw and dismiss the charge. The ADVO application made by police still stood but it was opposed and was also withdrawn and dismissed.
Our client was very pleased with this result.
Use carriage service to menace/harass/offend and stalk/intimidate | ADVO + dismissed charges | Downing Centre Local Court
Our client is male who resides in Sydney.
At the time of the offence, our client was not living with his ex-partner and child as result of an Apprehended Violence Order. NSW was also experiencing the 2021 Covid-19 lockdowns and our client was experiencing undue stress as the number of infections were increasing exponentially every day.
He was attempting to contact his ex-partner to get his daughter tested for Covid as he was led to believe she had been exposed. However, this led to a breach of the AVO as it was alleged he was threatening his ex-partner in one form or another.
The maximum penalty for these offences is 12 months imprisonment and/or a $6600 fine for use of carriage service to menace/harass/offend, and 2 years imprisonment and/or a $5500 for stalk/intimidate.
Solicitor James Clements appeared at court on behalf of our client, cross-examining the complainant and police witnesses. He also made various submissions to the Magistrate overseeing the proceeding. James and the Police Prosecutor came to agreement, with consent from our client, to enforce an AVO and dismiss all charges against our client.
The Magistrate accepted this decision.
Our client was very pleased with the result.
Common assault, stalk/intimidate, contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO | Dismissed + backdated imprisonment | Newcastle Local Court
Our client is a 51-year-old man who resides in Newcastle.
Our client and the victim had been in a domestic relation for eight to 10 years and had a six-year-old son. An Apprehended Violence Order had already been served on our client prior to this incident.
At the time of the incident an argument ensued after the victim asked our client why a $50 note in her wallet was missing. Our client said he had taken it and threw the victim to the ground. Later in the afternoon, our client lost his cigarettes and argued again with the victim – resulting in him taking her phone and throwing her to the ground again, their six-year-old son was present.
Police were called shortly after the victim’s phone was returned and the Apprehended Violence Order was varied so he could no longer reside with her.
The charges of common assault, stalk/intimidate and contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO carry a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5500 respectfully.
At court, the magistrate was satisfied with submissions made by solicitor James Clements. He dismissed the charges of common assault and stalk/intimidate and backdated the sentence of four months imprisonment as our client had been placed in custody.
Our client was happy with this result.
I was recently in some serious trouble and was in need of some rock solid representation. I hit Fourtrees through Google, and was directed to contact Denise McCarthy, one of their senior solicitors. It had been over a decade since I'd been in need of representation, but it wasn't nearly the first time, and I was in a state. If you are lucky enough to read this review and go with Denise, I assure you this is the most capable and thorough solicitor I have dealt with. On a personal level, Denise has a very engaging attitude, and is great to talk to. But most importantly, the amount of work she gets done in such a seamless fashion had me amazed.I went from a pretty exhausting state of anxiety ,to a realistic understanding and preparedness, confident in what I needed to do to engage in my submission. Spoke with Denise at length, over hours, and she was always available to squash any panicked queries I had. Denise is just a very smart cookie and an ace in her profession. The outcome way exceed anything I could hope for. That was 100% down to what she prepared and how she presented my case for the judge on the day. I hope I don't need to, but I wouldn't think of anyone else, by a long shot. I have a lot of gratitude for Denise McCarthy. More than 5 stars.