Threat to kill

A person (the first person) is guilty of an offence if:

  • the first person uses a carriage service to make to another person (the second person) a threat to kill the second person or a third person; and
  • the first person intends the second person to fear that the threat will be carried out.

Threat to cause serious harm

A person (the first person) is guilty of an offence if:

  • the first person uses a carriage service to make to another person (the second person) a threat to cause serious harm to the second person or a third person; and
  • the first person intends the second person to fear that the threat will be carried out.

Actual fear not necessary

In a prosecution for an offence against this section, it is not necessary to prove that the person receiving the threat actually feared that the threat would be carried out.

The definitions are as follows:

  • “fear” includes apprehension.
  • “threat to cause serious harm to a person” includes a threat to substantially contribute to serious harm to the person.

A person is guilty of an offence if:

  • the person uses a carriage service to send a communication; and
  • the person does so with the intention of inducing a false belief that an explosive, or a dangerous or harmful substance or thing, has been or will be left in any place.

A person is guilty of an offence if:

  • the person uses a carriage service; and
  • the person does so in a way (whether by the method of use or the content of a communication, or both) that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive.

The above applies to menacing, harassing or causing offence to:

  • an employee of an NRS provider; or
  • an emergency call person; or
  • an employee of an emergency service organisation; or
  • an APS employee in the Attorney‑General’s Department acting as a National Security Hotline call taker.

The definitions are as follows:

  • ‘carriage service’ a service for carrying communications by means of guided and/or unguided electromagnetic energy, which includes telephone calls, text messages and internet transmissions- for example: emails and social media
  • ‘menacing’ an expression or implied threat of detrimental or unpleasant conduct which is likely to cause the other person to act unwillingly.
  • ‘offensive’ if a reasonable person would regard it as being so
  • ‘harass’ to disturb, bother or pester repeatedly

Maximum Penalties

Criminal Code Act 1995OffenceMaximum Penalty
Section 474.15Use carriage service to make a threat10 years imprisonment
Section 474.16Use carriage service for a hoax threat10 years imprisonment 
Section 474.17Use carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence3 years imprisonment  

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

For the offence to be established, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  • You used a carriage service, and
  • You did so in a way that a reasonable person would regard as menacing, harassing or offensive

Defences to this charge

Self-defence– where you used unlawful violence to protect yourself, your property or another person. 

Duress Where you were threatened or coerced into committing the offence

Necessity Where you used unlawful violence to prevent serious injury or danger.

Pleading Guilty

It is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer who will be able to advise you of your options.

If you decide or have been advised to plead guilty to use carriage service after receiving legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer, it is crucial that your case is sufficiently prepared to maximise your chances at obtaining a lenient sentence. 

Utilitarian Value or 25% discount on punishment

The discount for the utilitarian value of the plea of guilty will be determined largely by the timing of your plea entered. That means, the earlier you enter a plea of guilty, the greater discount you receive on your punishment and also the type of sentence you receive.

The utilitarian value of a delayed plea is less and consequently the discount is reduced.

Types of penalties

Types of penalties the Judge can impose on you include any one of the following:

  • Conditional Release Order
  • Fine

Our expert defence team at Criminal Lawyers Sydney may be able to negotiate the police ‘facts’ to reduce the seriousness of the offence.

Our team will guide you on obtaining materials which can be handed-up to the court during your sentencing – including a letter of apology, character references and any documents from counsellors or health care professionals you have consulted.

These materials, together with persuasive verbal submissions by your lawyer in the courtroom, can help to ensure you receive the most lenient penalty that is possible in the circumstances.

If you have been charged with use carriage service to threaten, call Criminal Lawyers Sydney anytime on (02) 91528619 to arrange a free first conference with one of our experienced use carriage service lawyers who will review the allegations and advise you of your options and the best way forward.