Blackmail

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Blackmail
  • The offence
  • Jurisdiction
  • Elements of the offence
  • The demand
  • Menaces
  • Unwarranted demands
  • Gain or loss
  • Sentence for Blackmail

Blackmail

The offence

A person is guilty of blackmail if, with a view to gain for themselves or another or with intent to cause loss to another, they make any unwarranted demand with menaces. A demand with menaces is unwarranted unless the person making it does so in the belief that:

  1. they have reasonable grounds for making the demand, and

  2. the use of the menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand

Blackmail is an indictable-only offence.

Jurisdiction

One of the constituent elements of the offence must occur in England and Wales. A person will be guilty of the offence of blackmail whether or not they were in England and Wales at any material time and whether or not they are a British citizen.

Jurisdiction is established if the communication of a demand were sent either:

  1. from a place in England and Wales to a place elsewhere, or

  2. from a place elsewhere to a place in England and Wales

In R v Pogmore, the Court of Appeal held that the courts in England and Wales had jurisdiction to try an offence of blackmail where a communication which contained an unwarranted demand with menaces with a view to gain or with intent to cause loss to another, was sent from abroad to a person in England and Wales. On the facts, the defendant was charged with sending blackmail threats by

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