The offence of Using a carriage service to menace is found at section 14 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995.
This charge is popular with police because it is relatively easy to prove and captures a wide net of behaviour from threats made in domestic violence to altercations in the street. It is also frequently laid in relation to a person who makes repeated phone calls or sends text messages to a person of a threatening nature. It is often successfully defending where the
If you are charged with the offence of Using a carriage service to menace, your options will normally be to plead guilty or not guilty.
Pleading not guilty
You will be found not guilty of the offence of Using a carriage service to menace if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:
- You (or someone on your behalf) used a carriage service; and
- You did so in a way (whether by the method of use or the content of a communication, or both) that a reasonable person would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive.
Harass typically means to trouble or annoy by a repeated course of conduct. However, a single telephone call may be harassment depending on the words uttered, or the time and circumstances in which the call was made even if words were not uttered.
Menace means to cause a normally courageous person to feel apprehensive for their safety because of the call or calls. It isn’t necessary for a call to threaten actual harm for it to be menacing. Nor is it necessary for the communication to be made directly to the person menaced. As long as the caller intends the communication to be communicated to the ultimate recipient, it is enough.
In determining whether the language used is offensive, the relevant question is whether an ordinary reasonable person would have been offended by the conduct. The reasonable man is to be taken as reasonably tolerant and understanding and reasonably contemporary in his reactions.
If the police are able to prove the above elements beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:
Contact our offices in Sydney or Blacktown to organise a time for one of our criminal lawyers to advise you of your prospects of successfully defending the charge of Using a carriage service to menace.
If you agree that you have committed the offence (and the police are able to prove so), it is best to plead guilty as you will normally receive a discount on sentence and it will demonstrate remorse and contrition. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to less serious facts or even a less serious charge.
Using a carriage service to menace carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and 3 years imprisonment in the District Court; however, these penalties are typically reserved for the worst offenders. Our solicitors have a proven track record of not only keeping our clients out of gaol but also, depending on the seriousness of the allegation, having the offence dealt with by way of section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act, meaning no conviction will be recorded, there is no other penalty and you will have no criminal record. To find out more about a section 10, click here.
Penalties that a court can impose in NSW are: