Unlawful Stalking

Sentence

According to the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council with the increase in domestic violence matters in Queensland has come an increase in stalking charges.  And according to the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research the results in that State are the same.  Naturally, this trend has seen courts react by imposing more stern punishments for this type of conduct.  There are ways, though, to reduce the likelihood of actual imprisonment when the client’s case is very carefully considered.

I recall a case known as The Queen v Shane Andrew Martin, (unreported decision of Judge Lynch QC, delivered in Ipswich District Court on 20 July 2020), where my client was charged with unlawful stalking with violence and thus faced a real prospect of receiving a period of actual imprisonment.  But, after some careful psychometric evaluation it became clear that the cause of his offending was treatable, and as such evidence of that was placed before the sentencing court.  Given that rehabilitation is a very important method of ensuring community protection in matters like this, that evidence encouraged the court to abstain from immediately incarcerating my client.

 

Defence

The charge of unlawful stalking requires there to be contact of a prescribed kind, and that contact must cause a reasonable fear in the person being contacted or a detriment to them.  So, in considering whether a defence exists a very careful examination of the context of the contact must occur.  For example, I am currently involved in another stalking charge from Rockhampton where a serious allegation of stalking relies on text communications exchanged between my client and his ex-partner allegedly in breach of a Domestic Violence order.  Careful examination of those exchanges reveals them to be related to contact between each of them and child of the relationship, and despite the texts being quite heated, neither party appears to be fearful of the other as a result of the texts.  That fact will be the platform of my client’s intended defence: namely, that he could not be said to have stalked his ex-partner with these numerous texts because she did not (and no reasonable person would) develop a fear of him as a result.

This is just a small snippet of the law that relates to sentencing and defending stalking charges.  There is a great deal more that I could go into.  If you require any assistance at all with a stalking charge, please do not hesitate to contact me.