Law Unit 4 Case Cards - Blackmail

AQA Unit 4 Examination PM 23rd June

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Blackmail - Section 21 Theft Act 1968

Demand

Treacy v DPP (1971)

The defendant posted a letter to a person in Germany containing a demand with menaces. She posted it from England and it was received in Germany. She argued that the demand did not take effect until it was received and therefore she could not be tried in England as the offence was committed in Germany. 

Held: The House of Lords held the demand was made as soon as the letter was posted.

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Blackmail - Section 21 Theft Act 1968

Demand

R v Collister and Warhurst (1955)

The two defendants were police officers. They intimated to the complainant that he would be prosecuted for an offence. They arranged to meet him the next day and told him the report of the offence would not occur unless he failed to turn up for the meeting. At the meeting one of the officers asked the complainant if he had anything for him. The complainant handed over £5. The defendants were convicted of blackmail and appealed contending they did not make any demand.

Held: The convictions were upheld. The demand need not be express but can be implied from conduct and circumstances. "

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Blackmail - Section 21 Theft Act 1968

Demand must be Unwarranted

R v Harvey (1981)

The three defendants had given £20,000 to the complainant for a consignment of cannabis. The consignment, however, turned out to be worthless. In response the defendants kidknapped the complainants wife and child and threatened to ****, maim and kill them unless he returned their money. The trial judge directed the jury that threats to commit serious criminal offences could never be regarded as 'proper'. The jury convicted them of blackmail and they appealed on the grounds of a mis-direction.

Held: The convictions were upheld. The trial judge was wrong not to leave the question of belief that the demand was proper to the jury, the Court of Appeal was satisfied that a jury properly directed would have inevitably convicted. 

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Blackmail - Section 21 Theft Act 1968

Demand must be Unwarranted

R v Clear (1968)


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Blackmail - Section 21 Theft Act 1968

Demand must be Unwarranted

R v Garwood (1987)

The appellant was charged with blackmail. During the deliberations, the jury sent a note to the trial judge asking whether if, to the victim was timid, the appellant seemed more menacing than in fact he was, it amounted to menaces although others might not have found in menacing. The judge repeated the standard direction on menaces and indicated that the affect on the particular victim should be taken into account. The jury convicted and the defendant appealed.

Held: The conviction was upheld. Lord Lane CJ said that "menaces" was an ordinary word of which the meaning would be clear to the jury and only rarely would a judge need to enter on a definition. 

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