I have been arrested for blackmail. What does this mean ?
Blackmail is demanding something from someone and then gaining from this demand. The demand must be unwarranted and ‘with menaces’ – a threat from the blackmailer to do something for not agreeing to the demand. The threat doesn’t have to be something illegal and doesn’t even have to be true. An example would be demanding £10,000 from someone in order to refrain from telling the world of their affair with someone.
There is a defence if the demand is made on reasonable grounds and the threat is a proper way to make the demand. This exists to cover those chasing legal debts such as banks when they send letters threatening repossession of a home unless they get paid.
Extortion is similar to blackmail. It involves obtaining money, property or services from another through threats of physical harm: “pay up or else” is an example. Protection rackets are a form of extortion.
All cases are dealt with only in the Crown Court. The maximum sentence is 14 years.
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