Threats to kill
Threats to kill is a serious offence.
It is often alleged but thankfully it can be very hard for the prosecution to prove without an admission from the defendant.
Many things are said in arguments and this offence covers the serious situation where one party threatens to kill the other. The threats can be calculated and premeditated or said in the heat of the moment.
The person making the threat does not need to have the actual intention to kill but he or she has to intend the recipient to fear the threat would be carried out. It would be relevant if the person making the threat is known to be violent and to have a grudge which may cause him or her to act in the manner threatened.
This is a difficult offence to prove, suspects will often claim that they didn’t mean what they said and they didn’t intend the other person to believe the threat would be carried out. Therefore, it is often reserved for more serious cases. The offence can be dealt with in either the Magistrates or the Crown Court, it carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
If there is insufficient evidence to prove threats to kill the threat could still be covered by alternative charges like harassment, stalking, controlling or coercive behaviour or breach of protective order. Evidence could also support or defend an application for a Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO), Restraining Order or Non-Molestation Order.
Threats to kill is rarely the only live issue in an incident, it often coincides with allegations of assault, criminal damage, harassment, stalking, controlling or coercive behaviour, breach of protective order, social media offences and public order offences.
A mere allegation of threats to kill can be enough to result in arrest or a voluntary interview. This can lead to restrictive bail conditions, a charge and a court case.
Police investigations and Court hearings can have a dramatic impact on day to day living. Any caution or conviction can affect employment as it would remain on the police national computer and may be disclosed on a DBS check.
Loopholes to consider
In the section I have outlined this area of law and defences.
Loopholes are legitimate lines of defence that take into account all the small areas of law.
Loophole defences that may be appropriate to threats to kill may include:
Did you even make a threat to kill?
Can it be proven that you made a threat to kill?
Were your words taken out of context?
Were your words exaggerated by the other party?
Do you have a recording of the incident?
Do you have witnesses to help prove your account?
Did you really intend the other person to believe the threat to kill would be carried out?
Was it just said in the heat of the moment?
Was your conduct reasonable in all the circumstances?
Were you just protecting or defending yourself?
Did you need to protect or defend someone else?
Was the other person the aggressor?
How can the prosecution prove any intent by you?