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Stalking offences in QLD range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the crime. Stalking that includes acts of violence, for example, is punished far more harshly than where it involves no violence. Stalking has a variety of consequences, from small fines to jail time for severe offenders.
According to section 359 of the Criminal Code Act 1999 (Qld), stalking is a grave criminal offence. It covers a wide variety of actions, such as keeping an eye on, pursuing, or approaching someone, making any unwelcome physical contact with them, or lingering in any form. Depending on the situation, the offence might be one or several actions.
If you are convicted of a Stalking offence in a Queensland based court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a national police check in QLD.
In some instances, stalking may be a precursor to eventual domestic violence.
Stalking is when someone deliberately focuses their attention on another individual. On the other hand, the stalked finds the stalker's attention obnoxious, unwelcome, or even destructive or dangerous.
Chasing, loitering, observing, contacting, or sending materials to another person that causes them to be afraid or harm them or any other third party are all examples of stalking behaviours that may be punished by law in Queensland.
If you or a loved one has seen the following unwelcome behaviours from another person regularly, you may have grounds for launching a stalking complaint:
Section 359B of the Criminal Code Act 1999 (Qld) defines stalking as the offence purposefully aimed towards specific individuals several times. Stalking is thus identified as a pattern of repeated behaviour. In addition, the behaviour must include at least one of the following:
Whether actual violence or damage to the victim's property is present, intimidation, harassment, and threats are unlawful.
A stalking act must be such that the complainant has a reasonable fear for their safety (or the safety of their property). Furthermore, the conduct should be one that can potentially harm the stalked individual, either physically or emotionally.
Stalking often involves a variety of nonmaterial variables. Section 359D of Queensland's penal code outlines several immaterial factors for stalking, which includes:
Stalking carries a five-year jail sentence as a punishment. When there are aggravating factors, the maximum penalty is seven years in jail.
The following are examples of aggravating circumstances:
But even if the Magistrates Court finds the stalker not guilty, they may nevertheless issue restraining orders at their discretion or upon request from the prosecution or any other interested party.
In every case, the prosecutors will have to show that the individual charged committed the crime. Police must demonstrate the following to convict the stalker of illegal stalking:
It doesn't matter whether the accused meant to instil fear or harm, as described in the section. Also, the police do not need to prove that you did not intend to induce the fear or threat of violence or harm indicated above. It is also unnecessary to show that the stalked individual experienced damage due to the anticipation or threat of the crime or injury. The police have to prove that a reasonable assessment of the stalker's actions generated distress or fear of mental or physical damage.
There are certain circumstances that are not relevant to the prosecution of illegal stalking under Section 359C the Criminal Code Act 1999 (Qld). In other words, you can't use those specific circumstances to defend against a charge of unlawful stalking.
The following scenarios are irrelevant when defending yourself against stalking charges:
You can report stalking to the police, and if there's enough proof, the stalker can be charged. The individual bringing stalking charges may be required to appear in Court if the stalker refuses to accept fault. Common stalkers in Queensland include:
You should consult with a lawyer regarding a protection or good behaviour order, especially where the stalker’s behaviour also involves assault, violent threats, property damage, or the danger of harm to property.
Prosecutors need to know whether the stalker's behaviour and actions have a pattern. If an existing Domestic Violence Order has been obtained against the stalker and the stalker has disobeyed it, inform the authorities. Keep the following information about the stalker in mind:
Stalking crimes often occur in connection with other criminal acts such as sexual harassment or intimidation. To ensure that their aggravating circumstances are adequately recognised and presented to the Court, you should seek early and skilled legal advice.
If any of the following factors apply to you or your loved ones, you should seek legal counsel;
A Magistrates Court in QLD will handle the less severe instances of illegal stalking. However, the District Court (DC) may hear and decide on the cases that involve at least two repeat offences or more severe types of stalking cases.
The laws in Queensland are broad. When it comes to what constitutes criminal stalking, a few acts are not considered stalking. According to section 359D of the Criminal Code Act 1999 (Qld), the following behaviour is not deemed criminal stalking:
Some applicable defences to this crime include, but aren't limited to:
If an individual is convicted in QLD for the offence of Stalking, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their criminal record check. The offence will get disclosed on a criminal history check in accordance with the Spent Convictions Legislation in QLD.
Individuals can obtain a criminal record check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.
Criminal Code Act 1999 (Qld) - https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/current/act-1899-009
Criminal Code Act 1999 (Qld) (Austlii) - http://www6.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/qld/consol_act/cc189994/
Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld) - https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2012-005
Weapons Act 1990 (Qld) - https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1990-071
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