Stalking Is A Serious Criminal Offence In Queensland
In Queensland, stalking is a criminal offence under section 359B of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899. Unlawful stalking refers to intimidating behaviour toward another person which causes apprehension or fear of violence. It can include following or approaching, watching or contacting a person, loitering, and other threatening or harassing behaviours.
This contact may be in person, via telephonic communications or online.
To be convicted of a stalking offence, Police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
Stalking can consist of multiple acts, or one single act. It does not matter whether the conduct is short or protracted, or whether the conduct consists of the same or different behaviours.
Simple unlawful stalking matters may be dealt with in a Magistrates Court. More serious offending may be indicted and heard by a Judge in the District Court.
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The maximum penalty for a stalking offence is 5 years imprisonment. Aggravating circumstances can increase the maximum penalty to 7 years imprisonment. These circumstances of aggravation could be the use of, or threat of violence or weapons, or breaching orders.
There are a number of potential defences to an offence of stalking. This include identification errors, where the Police may have wrongly identified the offender. There are also specific conduct that is particularised in the Criminal Code s359D that does not constitute stalking including: a. acts done in the execution of a law or administration of an Act or for a purpose authorised by an Act; b. acts done for the purposes of a genuine industrial dispute; c. acts done for the purposes of a genuine political or other genuine public dispute or issue carried on in the public interest; d. reasonable conduct engaged in by a person for the person’s lawful trade, business or occupation; e. reasonable conduct engaged in by a person to obtain or give information that the person has a legitimate interest in obtaining or giving.
Do I need legal advice?
Stalking can be a complex matter with potential defences available. If you or someone that you know has been charged with stalking they should seek early and expert legal advice to understand all of the options available to them. Our criminal defence team strives to provide each client with expert advice and representation, delivered with honesty and uncompromising commitment.