Extortion Charges

In Queensland, police may charge a person with extortion if:

without reasonable cause, (they make) a demand—

(a) with intent to—

(i) gain a benefit for any person…; or

(i) cause a detriment to any person other than (themselves); and

(b) with a threat to cause a detriment to any person other than (themselves);

Queensland Criminal Code 1899 Section 415

Going To Court

Extortion is an “indictable offence“.

Indictable offences are more serious offences that must proceed to a higher Court. The District Court of Queensland has jurisdiction to hear a charge of extortion.

When you first appear in Court for the charge, you will appear before a Magistrates’ Court. You may need to appear before the District Court, however, for a sentence or trial.

If appearing in Court for extortion, it is important to engage experienced lawyers due to the:

  • serious nature of the charge; and
  • significant potential penalties.

Our criminal defence lawyers have a wealth of experience appearing for indictable offences. We also have specific experience representing clients charged with extortion.

We can offer you advice at an early stage and guide you through the Court process from start to finish.

What Constitutes Extortion?

Examples of actions that constitute extortion include those found in the following cases:

The accused threatened harm to the victim with the intent to gain a benefit for another. They threatened to remove the victim’s limbs and set fire to their house if the victim did not return bond money. In this case, the accused did not stand to gain anything for themselves.

A police officer threatened the victim with the intent to gain a benefit for themselves. The officer threatened to search the victim’s house and remove the victim’s children. This was unless the victim paid them $15,000.

For the prosecution to prove extortion they need to show beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. A demand was made;
  2. There was no reasonable cause for the demand;
  3. The person making the demand intended to gain a benefit for, or cause a detriment to, any person; and
  4. The person making the demand threatened to cause detriment to another.

The onus is on the prosecution to prove all elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Otherwise, the defendant is not guilty of the offence of extortion.

Contact us if you are unsure whether the police would be able to make out all the elements above. For example, you may have had a reasonable cause for making the demand.

We can discuss your prospects of:

  • defending the matter in Court; or
  • negotiating with the prosecution to downgrade or discontinue the charge.

Penalties For Extortion

The maximum penalty for extortion, without aggravating circumstances, is 14 years imprisonment.

This can increase to life imprisonment if the threat caused, or would likely cause if carried out:

  • serious injury to another person; or
  • substantial economic loss in industrial or commercial activity.

Generally, there is no minimum penalty for a charge of extortion. If the accused was participating in organised crime, however, a minimum penalty applies.

The Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 defines participation in organised crime. The Act states that this circumstance of aggravation applies if the defendant:

  • was part of a criminal organisation at the time of offending; or
  • committed the offence at the direction of, or for the benefit of, a criminal organisation.

In this case, the minimum penalty for the offence is 7 years imprisonment.

If there are no aggravating circumstances, then penalties for extortion can include:

  • imprisonment;
  • an intensive corrections order (a defendant can serve a sentence of no more than 2 years in the community);
  • probation (either as an alternative to or in addition to a sentence of imprisonment);
  • community service;
  • a fine; or
  • recognisance (a promise to the Courts to be of good behaviour for a period of time. The Court may or may not take a surety [sum of money] to be kept should the defendant breach the recognisance).

Focused On Results

Engaging a skilled lawyer will assist you in achieving the best outcome. We have experience representing clients for extortion and can knowledgeably advocate for you.

We will assist you to prepare for Court and do everything possible to keep the penalty to a minimum. It is important to undertake proper preparation before your Court date. This is especially so given this offence can attract a term of imprisonment. You should demonstrate to the Court the steps you have taken to address the offending.

If you wish to plead not guilty to the offence, we will expertly defend you.

Given the serious nature of the charge, if a friend or family member is remanded in custody, we can assist them to:

Aitken Whyte Lawyers Brisbane are focused on results.

Our advocates can represent you for all criminal offences. Contact us for expert legal advice.

Office Location and Contact Details


Aitken Whyte Lawyers Brisbane
2/414 Upper Roma Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

Ph: 07 3229 4459
Fax: +617 3211 9311
E: enquiries@awbrisbanelawyers.com.au