Threat Offences

If you have been charged with threat offences, SAHARAN FAMILY & CRIMINAL LAWYERS can help you.

The Offence Of Making A Threat To Kill

The offence of making a threat to kill is under Section 338B(1) of the Criminal Code ( WA).  The offence of making a threat to kill attracts a maximum penalty of imprisonment of seven years. If the offence is committed in circumstances of aggravation, the Court can impose a maximum term of custodial sentence for a period of 10 years. Where a threat to kill is racially motivated, the offender can be sentenced to up to 14 years in custody.

Actions which may amount to a threat to kill can include:

  • Telling the threat to a third party;
  • Sending a threatening letter;
  • Sending a threatening text message;
  • Leaving a threatening note in someone’s home; or
  • Writing the threat on a person’s Facebook page.

To find a person guilty of threatening to kill, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • A threat to kill was made;
  • The threat was unlawful;
  • That it was made to a person;
  • The intention was to make the victim fearful; and
  • The victim believed the threat that was made.

Express Or Implied

A person may be found guilty of a threat to kill whether the threat was made expressly or by implication. The test for whether something amounts to a threat to kill is an objective test.


Although this offence is usually dealt with in the District Court, it can also able to be dealt with within the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court (summarily). The legislation sets out that if the offence is dealt with summarily the maximum penalties which can be imposed are imprisonment for a period of up to 3 years and $36,000 fine.


Section 397 makes it an offence to demand property with threats to extort or gain. A person will be guilty of the crime if they blackmail someone by demanding, in writing or orally, that something is procured or something be done or not done, under threat of injury or detriment of any kind if the demand is not complied with.

“Writing” includes any recording made on a device by which words or sounds are recorded and capable of being reproduced, such as a mobile phone.

The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 14 years.

Section 398 makes it an offence to use threat with an intent to extort. A person will be guilty of the crime if they accuse, or threaten, or offer to threaten to accuse, someone of committing an indictable offence.

The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 14 years. The penalty increases to 20 years imprisonment, if the accusation or threat of accusation is of:

  • an offence that carries a penalty of life imprisonment;
  • sexual offences or certain offences against morality such as indecent acts;
  • an indecent assault;
  • a solicitation or threat offered to someone to induce them to commit or allow any of the above offences.

“Threat” is defined as a statement or behaviour that expressly constitutes, or could reasonably be regarded as constituting a threat to:

  • kill, injure, endanger or harm a person, whether a particular person or not;
  • destroy, damage, endanger or harm any property, whether particular property or not;
  • take or exercise control of a building, structure or conveyance by force or violence;
  • cause a detriment of any kind to a person, whether a particular person or not;
  • distribute an intimate image of any person.
Police Interview

If you are being interviewed for threat offences, it is vital that you speak with an experienced criminal lawyer for advice before you speak with the police. If you are being interviewed, then the police are likely to charge you regardless of any explanation you give them. The decision you make about how to conduct yourself in the interview is important.

We can help find 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 such as Should I give a no comment interview, or should I respond to their questions? A police interview can be an intimidating event, particularly when facing a threats charge.

Pleading Not Guilty

If pleading not guilty, you will need a lawyer who is an experienced criminal lawyer. Your lawyer should make the prosecution provide all disclosure items, and issue subpoenas for any other material which may be relevant to your defence. A threat offence case needs to be strongly defended by scrutinizing the police evidence.

We will do a careful and methodical preparation so that you have the best opportunity to successfully defend the charge.

Pleading Guilty

If you are pleading guilty to a threat offence, it will require very careful and full preparation. Your criminal lawyer will need to take a complete life history so that your lawyer can understand how your life experiences may have contributed to the offending.

We will advise you on what material will need to be obtained to tender to the Court and assist you in gathering reports and reference material so the sentencing Judge has a complete understanding of you.

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