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The Law of Blackmail

The Law of Blackmail


Blackmail is set out as an offence under sl.21 of the Theft Act of 1968. It consists of making an unwarranted demand with menaces with a view to ultimately make a gain or cause a loss. The maximum sentence for blackmail is 14 years imprisonment.


The Elements of Blackmail:


To be liable for a conviction of blackmail the defendant must:


1. Make a demand


a. Must be express or implied (R v Collister & Warhurst)

b. The demand does not necessarily have to be heard or read, simply communicating the threat in any way counts as a demand

c. The demand must also be a continuing act or continue to


2. With menaces


a. Must be express or implied (R v Lawrence and Pomroy)

b. Must be strong wording that would coerce to give rise to criminal liability


3. The demand must be unwarranted


a. Unless the person making the demand believes that they has reasonable grounds for making the demand and that the use of menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand


4. Have the intent on making a gain for himself or another or to have the intent to cause a loss to another


a. The act defines gain and loss as including a gain or loss of money or other property

This gain or loss does not have to be permanent in order to constitute blackmail

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