kidnapping is a serious indictable offence
Section 86 of the Crimes Act 1900 provides that kidnapping is committed by a person who takes or detains a person without that person’s consent for the purpose of obtaining a ransom or any other advantage or with the intention of committing a serious indictable offence.
The penalty for kidnapping is 14 years imprisonment.
Kidnapping is aggravated if the kidnapping is committed in the company of other person/s; or, at the time of the commission of the abduction or immediately before, actual bodily harm was inflicted on the victim. The penalty for kidnapping with the existence of either of these two aggravating circumstances is 20 years imprisonment.
Kidnapping becomes a specially aggravated offence if the kidnapping is committed with other person/s and actual bodily harm was inflicted on the victim at the time of the commission of the kidnapping or immediately before or after the abduction. The penalty for specially aggravated kidnapping is imprisonment for 25 years.
If the accused is charged with aggravated kidnapping (subsection 2 of Section 86) or specially aggravated kidnapping (subsection 3 of Section 86) but the existence of the aggravating circumstances or special aggravating circumstances was not successfully proved beyond reasonable doubt then the accused may still be convicted for the lesser offence accordingly.
For example, if an accused is charged with special aggravated kidnapping but only one of the aggravating circumstances was proven by the prosecution the accused may be convicted under aggravated kidnapping which has a lower penalty.
If the kidnapper takes a child below 16 years of age, the law automatically considers the taking or detaining as without consent. The law treats a person below 16 years of age as a ‘child’. No kidnapping is committed if a child is taken or detained by the parent or is acting with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian and the act of taking or detaining is not against any court order.
Section 86 also included definitions of critical terms that would ensure there is no room for doubt in the interpretation and application of the kidnapping law. ‘Detaining’ means causing the person being detained to remain where he or she is.
A ‘parent’ is a person who has, in relation to the child, all the duties, powers and authorities granted by the law to parents in relation to their children. The act of ‘taking’ a person includes causing the person to accompany a person and causing the person to be taken.
Since kidnapping is an indictable offense, cases are finalized with the District Court.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.