Cyberstalking and harassment are becoming increasingly common issues in today’s society. With the widespread use of technology, it’s easier for individuals to intimidate, harass or stalk others through virtual means. In Queensland, Australia, those engaged in cyberstalking and/or harassment activities could face serious consequences.
What is Cyberstalking and Harassment?
Cyberstalking includes repeated harassment, intimidation or threats to another individual via the internet, text message, social media or other virtual methods. Cyberstalking could fall in the category of cyberbullying, a punishable crime in the Queensland courts.
Harassment refers to any behaviours that are intended to cause distress or harm to another individual.
Cyberstalking and harassment cause serious psychological harm (and in some instances physical harm) to the victim(s) involved.
Criminal Charges for Cyberstalking and Harassment in Queensland
How does Queensland recognise these actions in criminal law?
It is considered a crime if the internet or mobile phone is used to: • menace, harass or seriously offend; • stalk; and/or • make threats; against another individual.
Depending on the nature of the activities, cyberstalking may be charged as Using a Carriage Service to Menace, Harass or Cause Offence under section 474.17(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) (“The Code”).
474.17 Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence
(1) A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person uses a carriage service; and
(b) 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.
These offences can carry a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment. In addition, a person convicted of these offences could be subject to restraining orders and other penalties.
These penalties may be increased if the individual has a prior criminal record, or if the victim of the cyberstalking, bullying or harassment was a child. This may result in longer prison sentences or higher fines.
Seeking Legal Help
If you are faced with a criminal charge, seek legal advice as soon as possible. A skilled criminal lawyer will help you to gather evidence and build a strong case to strengthen the chance of a better outcome.
Contact Creevey Horrell Criminal Lawyers
Based in Brisbane, Roma, Toowoomba and Townsville.
Visit www.chcriminallawyers.com.au/contact-us to contact us today.