Introduction: What is Blackmail?

Blackmail, as defined in section 87 of the Crimes Act 1958 in Victoria, is committed by a person who attempts to force another person to do something by means of threatening them. The legal definition of Blackmail consists of five basic parts:
  1. Someone demands something from another person;
  2. The demand is made to make a gain or cause a loss to the other person;
  3. The demand is made with threats;
  4. The threats are real; and
  5. The demand is unreasonable.
If you have been accused of committing such an offence, it is imperative to speak with expert Blackmail lawyers immediately. You can contact us here.

Police Interview

If you’re facing an interview regarding Blackmail, it’s crucial to reach out to a skilled criminal lawyer for guidance before engaging with the police. When you’re being interviewed, the police are inclined to press charges, irrespective of any explanations you might offer. The decision you make about how to conduct yourself in the interview is crucial. We can assist in finding out information about the allegation for you, such as:
  • Will I be remanded?
  • What type of evidence do they have against me?
We will help you answer questions like, “Should I give a no-comment interview, or should I respond to their questions?” A police interview can be an intimidating event, especially when facing a Blackmail charge. We can provide expert advice and accompany you during the interview.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you plead not guilty to this charge, you will need a lawyer experienced in handling an allegation of Blackmail. Your lawyer should compel the prosecution to provide all disclosure items and issue subpoenas for any other material relevant to your defence. A Blackmail case requires strong defence by scrutinising the police evidence. Our lawyers will engage in careful and methodical preparation, ensuring that you have the best opportunity to successfully defend the Blackmail charge.

Pleading Guilty

If you are pleading guilty to Blackmail, it necessitates very careful and thorough preparation. Your lawyer will need to take a complete life history to understand how your life experiences may have contributed to the offending. We’ll guide you on the necessary materials to gather and present to the Court. We’ll also aid you in collecting reports and reference materials, ensuring that the sentencing Judge gains a comprehensive understanding of your situation.


Sentencing in the higher courts of Victoria includes a pie chart for Blackmail in the Higher Courts. As an indictable charge, it must be heard in the County Court. The maximum penalty for Blackmail (s87 of the Crimes Act 1958) is imprisonment for 15 years. Figure 1: Sentencing outcomes for all charges of blackmail (80 charges) Note: The graph only includes data for the most severe sentence imposed for the charge. For example, only imprisonment is included for combined orders of imprisonment and a community correction order. Other in the graph may include probation, recognizance release orders (for Commonwealth offences) and residential treatment orders. Historical offences may include suspended sentences.

Figure 1 Source: Sentencing Advisory Council

Examples of Blackmail

  • Someone demands $20,000 in exchange for not publishing naked photos of another person online.
  • Someone threatens to poison his ex-partner’s dog if she doesn’t agree to restart their relationship.
  • A builder threatens to hurt the family of an ex-client that refuses to pay a bill for faulty construction work.

Elements of the Offence

For an accused to be found guilty of Blackmail, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:
  • The accused made an unwarranted demand with menaces, and
  • The accused had a view to gain for himself or for another, or had an intent to cause loss to another.


  • There was no intention to threaten the other person.
  • There were reasonable grounds to demand that the other person do something, and the threat was a lawful way to reinforce the demand.


The section that covers this offence is section 87 of the Crimes Act 1958.


Blackmail is a serious offence with severe penalties. Whether you are facing a police interview, deciding how to plead, or navigating the complexities of sentencing, expert legal guidance is essential. Contact us today to discuss your case and learn how we can assist you in navigating the complex world of Blackmail charges.

Further Reading

  • Contesting Charges
  • Pleas of Guilty
  • Appeals

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