Queensland: First State to Impose Anti-Stalking Legislation
Most people may not be aware that Queensland was the first state in Australia to enact anti-stalking legislation back in 1993. Although the first attempt was highly criticised as unnecessary, the legislation would later prove essential with the coming of social media, though with numerous amendments.
Today, Queensland still has one of the most effective anti-stalking legislation in Australia. Chapter 33A of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899 is the one that deals with unlawful stalking. Section 359B of the Code defines what unlawful stalking is and all forms of assault related to stalking.
The Act explains the instances in which a person can be charged with stalking and penalties. Did you know following a person in a way that they feel threatened is deemed stalking and a crime punishable by law? This is the truth.
Here are acts that can get you charged with stalking in Queensland as per 359B of the Code:
Loitering Near a Person
Stalking can be simple as giving someone unwanted attention. One of the acts of stalking is loitering near a person in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable with your presence. Whether it’s near their place of work, home, gym, or any place that they regularly visit, you can be charged with unlawful stalking.
Repeatedly Contacting A Person
This is probably the most common form of stalking and has been around for ages. Social media has made it easy for people to communicate with and to stalk others. Calling someone repeatedly on their phones, sending messages, or emailing or contacting them repeatedly via social media platforms is stalking under section 359B of the Queensland Criminal Code.
Sending Unwanted Gifts
This is a common form of unlawful stalking, especially by people wanting a romantic relationship with another person who, in most cases, is not interested. Don’t send flowers and other forms of gifts to that person you secretly love because it can land you in jail. The Act treats this as a criminal offence.
Intimidation and Harassment
Any action that makes another person feel intimidated, harassed, or threatened is defined under section 359B of the QLD Criminal Code as unlawful stalking. If it is proven that one has acted in such a way and they threatened to commit acts of violence against a person, the offence is punishable by law.
Punishment of Unlawful Stalking
Section 359E of the Queensland Criminal Code details the punishments if one is guilty of the crime. The maximum penalty for unlawful stalking is 5 years imprisonment. However, if you threatened violence against the victim or if weapons were used, the maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment.
If the action constitutes stalking a law enforcement officer, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment. The punishment may be harsher if the stalked officer was investigating a case related to the offender. Therefore, the severity of penalties according differs with the circumstances of the case.
If you have been charged with a stalking offence, contact Bouchier Khan Lawyers, and our team will be happy to help.