If you have been charged with unlawful stalking in Qld, it is a serious offence, and you may find yourself facing jail time.
We share a little more about what constitutes unlawful stalking in Qld, as well as what the offences and penalties are.
What is Unlawful Stalking in Qld?
Section 359B of the Criminal Code Act 1899 defines unlawful stalking as conduct “(a) intentionally directed at a person (the “stalked person” ); and
(b) engaged in on any 1 occasion if the conduct is protracted or on more than 1 occasion; and
(c) consisting of 1 or more acts of the following, or a similar, type—
(i) following, loitering near, watching or approaching a person;
(ii) contacting a person in any way, including, for example, by telephone, mail, fax, email or through the use of any technology;
(iii) loitering near, watching, approaching or entering a place where a person lives, works or visits;(iv) leaving offensive material where it will be found by, given to or brought to the attention of, a person;
(v) giving offensive material to a person, directly or indirectly;
(vi) an intimidating, harassing or threatening act against a person, whether or not involving violence or a threat of violence;
(vii) an act of violence, or a threat of violence, against, or against property of, anyone, including the defendant; and
(i) would cause the stalked person apprehension or fear, reasonably arising in all the circumstances, of violence to, or against property of, the stalked person or another person; or
(ii) causes detriment, reasonably arising in all the circumstances, to the stalked person or another person”
What Must Be Proven?
In order for a person to be charged with unlawful stalking in Qld, the prosecution must prove that the elements of unlawful stalking have been committed beyond a reasonable doubt.
That is, they must prove that you;
- engaged in any of the conduct described in section 359B(c) intentionally; and
- your conduct was deliberately directed at a person; and
- your conduct would cause that person apprehension or fear of violence to or against them, or someone else; or
- your conduct caused detriment to that person.
What Are Some Examples of Unlawful Stalking in Qld?
There is no well-defined criteria for stalking offences; this is due to the wide variation in which people have committed, and continue to commit unlawful stalking.
However, some instances where unlawful stalking charges have been successfully laid include:
- Intentionally and frequently driving past another person’s house;
- Sending a barrage of text messages to an ex spouse, and loitering around their workplace;
- An employer verbally threatening an ex employee due to the belief they had stolen from them;
- An adult talking to a child near the child’s school on multiple occasions and following him;
- Sending unwanted gifts to another person repeatedly, despite directives to stop.
Defences To An Unlawful Stalking Charge in Qld
Defences to an unlawful stalking charge in Qld may include:
- Arguing that the police have the wrong person
- Proving that the conduct falls under section 359D, including
- acts done in the execution of a law or administration of an Act or for a purpose authorised by an Act;
- acts done for the purposes of a genuine industrial dispute;
- acts done for the purposes of a genuine political or other genuine public dispute or issue carried on in the public interest;
- reasonable conduct engaged in by a person for the person’s lawful trade, business or occupation;
- reasonable conduct engaged in by a person to obtain or give information that the person has a legitimate interest in obtaining or giving.
- A general offence
Penalties for Unlawful Stalking in Qld
If you are charged with stalking where violence is threatened or used, such as possessing a weapon at the time of offending, the maximum punishment is 7 years. In this instance, your case will be heard in the District Court.
Facing an Unlawful Stalking Charge in Qld and Need Help?
Unlawful stalking in Qld is considered a serious offence. Typically, the punishment for stalking is imprisonment. If you are facing a charge of unlawful stalking in Qld, it is essential you seek legal advice and representation as soon as possible. Guest Lawyers can help. We provide both legal counsel and representation for all criminal law matters in Brisbane. If you or someone you know would benefit from the support of professional legal practitioners, we invite you to get in touch via our online form, or call our Brisbane office on 07 3211 3007.