In the recent case of young Cleo Smith in Perth and her abductor convicted of kidnapping, Australia grips with questions.
What does the law say about kidnapping?
Under the Criminal Code Queensland, Section 354 (2) states:
“A person kidnaps another person if the person unlawfully and forcibly takes or detains the other person with intent to gain anything from any person or to procure anything to be done or omitted to be done by any person.”
What do the police need to prove to convict someone of kidnapping?
They must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following:
• The accused took or detained someone else; • The accused took said person forcibly; • The accused took said person unlawfully; and • The accused had an intent to gain something from the person OR to procure anything to be done or omitted to be done by any person.
If proven, the convicted person would be liable to receiving a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.
Possible actions that could constitute kidnapping
What actions could constitute kidnapping?
Kidnapping, in the eyes of the law, could be:
• Detaining someone against their will; • Taking someone somewhere without their consent or against their wishes; • Taking a child in contradiction to a court-made parenting order; or • Detaining or taking someone for financial or another advantage.
Are there any possible defences for kidnapping?
There could be many possible defences depending on the case at hand.
A lawyer could argue:
• The accused was under duress; • The accused committed the act out of necessity; or • In some cases, there were consensual agreements, and the taking was not forced.
What comes next?
Kidnapping offences require a skilled, trustworthy and understanding lawyer to act on the behalf of the accused to ensure the best outcome for them.
To discover more about our criminal law expertise, follow the link below.