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Threats (to assault/kill)


SC889
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I have been crewed with several different officers and been to a few jobs all dealt with differently

Afterwards I have asked the officer why he dealt with it in a certain way and most of the time it was to get away with recording any crime or because it was 'tit for tat', so nothing was fully explained to me which has left me with a few questions;

- Threats to kill

What constitutes as threats to kill? Is it purely the mention of the word 'kill'?

If one party threatens to kill the other but the threatened party does not believe the threats, is it still an offence of threats to kill?

- Threats to cause injury

I have been to a few jobs where someone has made threats to ‘punch’ or ‘beat up’ another party. This has been face to face or over the phone, what specific offence if any is being committed?

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what specific offence if any is being committed?

Wasting police time in all likelihood.

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However, to give you a slightly more serious answer....

Threats to Kill is an offence contrary to s16 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861. CPS advice on the offence says:

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/offences_against_the_person/

Threats can be calculated and premeditated, or said in the heat of the moment. The defendant does not have to have the intention to kill but there has to be an intent that the person to whom the threat has been issued would fear it would be carried out. This can be a difficult offence to prove, and it should be reserved for the more serious cases. Where it is doubtful whether the threat carried the necessary intent a charge under Section 4 Public Order Act 1986 may be appropriate.

Which brings me nicely to s4 Public Order Act 1986 which would the more likely offence committed be threatening to harm someone. It can't be an offence though if both parties are inside a dwelling and you have to remember that Public Order offences are there primarily to protect the general public rather than the participants. So if two people know each other and one threatens to beat up the other in the back garden of his house at 1am with no one else around who is harmed by that? If the threats are made over the phone then you may be looking at Malicious Communications offences and if they are persistent you may be into Harassment.

In all honesty though most threats jobs are rubbish hence my initial flippant remark. It's normally the people with very thin skin (and usually short memories as they forget their own behaviour for some reason) who are straight on the 9s asking for help. Professional judgement has to be exercised in such cases or the police would just spend their whole time dealing with such junk.

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Wasting police time in all likelihood.

Especially when alcohol is involved.

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My general rule is unless there is more than words said it doesn't get crimed.

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Apologies of I mentioned this before, but it is a favourite of mine, and relevant to this thread.

I had a bit of an ongoing issue with a bloke, 6'4" and built like a brick outhouse. I'd stopped him several times for a minor traffic offence. He phones the complaints section to complain about me. He told them over the phone that the next time I stopped him he would kill me. He made great emphasis on this point. He wasn't just going to hurt me, he was going to kill me. He was invited to HQ and interviewed under caution on tape where he repeated his threat that he would kill me. When pressed, he insisted that this was exactly what he meant to do. For some reason he was reported for summons. I was contacted and advised by the officers involved in the complaint that it was considered a real and present threat to me . A file was submitted to CPS for consideration of prosecuting him for threats to kill.

CPS decided not to proceed. The reason was, while awaiting the decision, I stopped him again and gave him a fixed penalty. He didn't kill me. Case dropped.

For some reason I still find that very funny.

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  • 1 month later...

With threats to kill, is it the suspects intention? or how the victim felt that matters?

For example male threatens female and states he is going to kill her etc. The female does not believe this. Would this still be a threats to kill if the male was interviewed and stated his intention was to scare her and make her think he was going to kill her?

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Basically the threat has to be immediate, 'im going to kill you now' not next week. And the person doesnt have to believe it, it has to be the intention of the person saying it that the 'victim' should think it truel.

If i recall correctly.

As above though there are few real ones. Though its surpising how many people 'fully believe' that their partner or other family member would fully want to kill them, despite having not killed them or shown any violence in the past

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Basically the threat has to be immediate, 'im going to kill you now' not next week.

I don't think this is the case. If the person, Alf, making the threat says to Bill, for instance, that he is going over to Fred's house next week when he comes back from holiday and kill him (Fred), then assuming all the other ingrediants are present, the offence would be complete. Even if Bill doesn't believe it, as long as Alf intends him to. Your comment about the threat being immediate rings a bell somewhere, but I feel sure it's to do with something else. I stand to be corrected though. In the case I was involved with (above) the threat was far from immediate.

And the person doesnt have to believe it, it has to be the intention of the person saying it that the 'victim' should think it truel.

If i recall correctly.

Correct. In fact, the person making the threat need have not the slightest intention of carrying out the killing, just that the person he is making the threat to believes it. Even the would be victim need not believe it, when the information its transmitted to him/her. "Oh! He says that every Wednesday and has done for the last 20 years."

As above though there are few real ones. Though its surpising how many people 'fully believe' that their partner or other family member would fully want to kill them, despite having not killed them or shown any violence in the past

To be fair, for most victims of murder, it is their first time.

:tongue:

Edited by Shootist
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An offence of Threats to Kill does not require an immediate threat. An assault by means of a threat, that is causing someone to fear immediate unlawful violence, would require an immediate threat as in the use of violence there and then and not sometime later. But the offence of Threats to Kill differs in that it can be immediate or in the future. It is the intention of the person making the threat, which matters here. The person receiving the threat does not have to believe it - that the other party intends him/her to so fear he/she would carry out the threat is sufficient. The threat can only be made directly - it cannot, for instance, be made via a third party.

Most threats to kill are little more than idle threats during, for want of a better word, petty arguments.

Edited by morek54
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An assault by means of a threat, that is causing someone to fear immediate unlawful violence, would require an immediate threat as in the use of violence there and then and not sometime later.

Are confusing it with a conditional threat such as "do that again and I'll slap you"?

I ask because In the case R v. Ireland it was determined that a common assault can occur without verbal warning or action. Several silent phone calls made to the victim, which caused them to fear violence in the future, constituted an assault offence.

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The threat can only be made directly - it cannot, for instance, be made via a third party.

I've heard that said before but given the bit in bold below from the statute I can't see how it's correct.

A person who without lawful excuse makes to another a threat, intending that that other would fear it would be carried out, to kill that other or a third person shall be guilty of an offence...

Basically if Mr A tells Mr B that the next time he sees Mr C he's going to kill him, and he intends Mr B to believe that, the offence is complete.

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I stand corrected regarding the immediate threat thing

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I have been crewed with several different officers and been to a few jobs all dealt with differently

Afterwards I have asked the officer why he dealt with it in a certain way and most of the time it was to get away with recording any crime or because it was 'tit for tat', so nothing was fully explained to me which has left me with a few questions;

- Threats to kill

What constitutes as threats to kill? Is it purely the mention of the word 'kill'?

If one party threatens to kill the other but the threatened party does not believe the threats, is it still an offence of threats to kill?

- Threats to cause injury

I have been to a few jobs where someone has made threats to ‘punch’ or ‘beat up’ another party. This has been face to face or over the phone, what specific offence if any is being committed?

Threats to kill is a serious offence which can be tried on indictment and lead to a very decent amount of custody time. The offence is all about the intention of the defendant. When making the threat the defendant has to be shown to have intended the victim to fear it as a genuinue threat. It is not legally relevant if the victim does fear it but the courts often take into account the circumstances around the victim's situation to help determine if it is reasonable to assume the defendant intended it to be taken seriously (as otherwise how would we know what was going through the defendant's head)

So a violent criminal threatening someone who knows he has access to firearms is always more likely to be found to have intended it that the 5'3 8 stone student who is threatening to kill the 6'10 22stone doorman who has just ejected him using only 2 fingers.

Also relevant is location. If x threatens to kill y while x is hundreds of miles away this may help to show x didn't intend it to be taken seriously whereas the ex-partner outside in the bushes making this threat must know it is more likely to be believed because of what he is doing.

so to answer the question it is quite possible for the offence to exist even when the victim doesn't believe it but proving it is a lot harder.

Threats to assault/injure is a much greyer area. face to face it could be an assault if it causes te fear of immediate violence or the very similar s4 Public Order offence. If could ammount to no offence at all if it is a conditional threat or again if circumstances make it so. running away and threatening to knock someone out is probably not enough although the lesser 4a offence could possibly be made out

over the phone it is easy. any offensive message is an offence. a phone call, a text, anything like that which is threatening is an offence. so simples

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  • 2 weeks later...

Threats to kill is a serious offence which can be tried on indictment and lead to a very decent amount of custody time. The offence is all about the intention of the defendant. When making the threat the defendant has to be shown to have intended the victim to fear it as a genuinue threat. It is not legally relevant if the victim does fear it but the courts often take into account the circumstances around the victim's situation to help determine if it is reasonable to assume the defendant intended it to be taken seriously (as otherwise how would we know what was going through the defendant's head)

So a violent criminal threatening someone who knows he has access to firearms is always more likely to be found to have intended it that the 5'3 8 stone student who is threatening to kill the 6'10 22stone doorman who has just ejected him using only 2 fingers.

Also relevant is location. If x threatens to kill y while x is hundreds of miles away this may help to show x didn't intend it to be taken seriously whereas the ex-partner outside in the bushes making this threat must know it is more likely to be believed because of what he is doing.

so to answer the question it is quite possible for the offence to exist even when the victim doesn't believe it but proving it is a lot harder.

Threats to assault/injure is a much greyer area. face to face it could be an assault if it causes te fear of immediate violence or the very similar s4 Public Order offence. If could ammount to no offence at all if it is a conditional threat or again if circumstances make it so. running away and threatening to knock someone out is probably not enough although the lesser 4a offence could possibly be made out

over the phone it is easy. any offensive message is an offence. a phone call, a text, anything like that which is threatening is an offence. so simples

what offences would I be looking at for the offensive messages and phone calls and texts?

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