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Blackmail is a serious offence. In order to be found guilty, the prosecution has to prove that a demand has been made to someone, with serious or significant threats to that person, about what will happen to them if they do not do what is demanded. The demand must be unreasonable and the threats must be an improper means of enforcing the demand. The blackmailer must be shown to have the intention to either make a gain for himself or a loss to another person.
This offence can encompass a wide range of scenarios, including ex-lovers, cybercriminals or organised crime.
Increasingly, people are being charged with and are the victims of “sextortion”. This is where blackmailers use sexually explicit images or content of the victim to threaten that these will be released online or to the victim’s loved ones or family if money is not sent.
Being charged with blackmail can be extremely frightening. Our experienced serious crime team can assist you right from the first interview at the police station through to trial and/or sentence. HJA Defence lawyers have more than 40 years of experience fighting for our clients’ rights.
We are passionate about defending every client tenaciously. We will advise you on the evidence and develop a case strategy with you. This may involve interviewing witnesses, instructing expert witnesses and running legal arguments on the exclusion of evidence and challenging witness anonymity. We work with top barristers and higher court advocates to provide the best litigation and advocacy.
We have expertise in dealing with both individuals who have never been involved in the criminal justice system before and multi-handed, large scale organised crime operations. We pride ourselves on fighting for every client passionately and with a tailor-made approach which caters to each client’s needs.
Our reputation as experts in sexual offences means that we can act for you discreetly and with sensitivity.
We regularly represent professionals and understand the importance of protecting reputations and careers. Where there is associated disciplinary or regulatory action we can also assist.
We will also instruct appropriate experts to mount a strong defence, depending on the specific facts of the case. For example, it may be that a fingerprint expert or a handwriting expert is required if the threat or demand was sent by post, or voice experts if there is a recording. If the offence was committed over the internet then we have the specialist knowledge in cybercrime and fraud and relationships with experts to handle your case with expertise.
Blackmail carries a maximum sentence of fourteen years imprisonment. It is likely that if you are convicted of this offence you will receive a prison sentence. However, depending on the seriousness of particular case and your personal circumstances we may be able to persuade the court against immediate imprisonment.
If you send threatening messages to someone, you can be charged with malicious communications.
If you threaten violence in order to make someone give you something you could be charged with robbery.
Publishing or sending images or videos of someone of a sexual nature without their consent could result in a revenge porn charge under the Sexual Offences Act.
There is no automatic anonymity granted to alleged victims of blackmail and the usual principles of public justice apply. However, the prosecution can make an application for anonymity in certain situations which would mean a witnesses name is not mentioned in court.
This will be opposed by the defence and the current approach is that it will only be granted in exceptional cases. The prosecution can also make an application for a reporting restriction which, if granted, means your name and any identifying information cannot be published or repeated outside of court.
Finally, the prosecution can apply for special measures to be granted. The court may make an order permitting an alleged victim to give evidence from behind a screen so that those in the public gallery and the alleged perpetrator cannot see the person whilst they give their evidence.
Challenge of the UK courts allowing evidence to be given by anonymous witnesses in an allegation of kidnapping, false imprisonment and blackmail.
Partner Kerry Spence acted for a youth client charged with blackmail, false imprisonment and assault. She instructed specialist counsel Mr Jon Anders of 2KBW. Our client was one of five defendants. The prosecution alleged that the defendants were a group involved in large scale drug dealing, resorting to violent means to recover drug related debts. Our client was the only defendant to be acquitted.
Our top ranking team have years of experience representing the innocent. We stand up to the prosecution who will always be represented by an experienced solicitor or barrister. We know how to fight and win cases.
Representing you at the Police Station or in Court If you need urgent representation call us today. Share a few details with us and we’ll let you know how we can help you.
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|Phone:||0808 231 6369|
|Fax:||020 7388 2106|
|Address:||Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors 180 North Gower Street London NW1 2NB|