The crime of stalking is defined in the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 and in the Crimes Act 1958. There is stalking when a person stalks another person with the intention of causing physical or mental harm to him or her or for arousing fear for her or his safety or that of the other person and the penalty imposed for this criminal offence is 10 years imprisonment.
The following conducts constitute stalking:
1). Following the victim or other person
2). Contacting the victim through telephone, fax, emails, other electronic communications or in any other means like publication in the internet materials relating to the victim or other person which message or material originally came from the victim or tracing the victim’s use of the internet or email or other electronic communication
3). Entering or loitering outside the victim’s house or other person’s house near the victim of places frequented by the victim.
4). Interfering with the property possessed by the victim or by any other person
5).making threats to the victim
6). Keeping the victim under surveillance
The defences that can be interposed by the defendant in the charge of stalking are the following, to wit:
a. That the conduct that constitutes the crime of stalking was committed in the normal course of business or trade,
b. performance of an occupation or profession,
c. in pursuance of industrial dispute, or
d. to engage in political discussion .
The defendant has the burden of proving that the commission of the conduct constituting the crime of stalking was done without malice and that he has no intention to cause physical or mental harm to the complainant.
Under the Crimes Act 1958, the person charged is engaging in the conduct with the intention to cause physical or mental harm if he is aware that doing the acts would arouse fear to the other person for his or her safety or that the offender understood that what he is doing is causing fear to the other person for his or her safety or that of another person.
There is no crime of stalking committed by a person who followed the other person in the performance of an official duty to enforce criminal law, administration of any Act, execution of a warrant, enforcement of pecuniary interest or protection of public revenue.
The offended party or the police officer can apply for personal safety intervention order for the victim against the stalker at the proper venue of the Magistrate’s Court or Children Court. Before issuing this order, the court may inquire whether the defendant is a holder of licence for firearms.
If it was proven that the defendant has licence for firearms, he will be directed to surrender the firearms and that an order will also contain provision cancelling or suspending his or her firearms licence. If he contravene this order (whether interim or final one) he will be prosecuted.
The defendant may, upon receipt of the intervention order, whether it is an interim order or a final order, submit to alternative dispute resolution or apply for the revocation of the intervention order.
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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.