What is Intimidation Under the Law in NSW?

By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.


Most people have a morning routine.

Whether it’s sipping on a hot cup of coffee or listening to talkback radio on the traffic-filled drive to work, we all have our rituals to get the day started.

For smokers, kicking off the morning generally begins with a cigarette, and for those deep into addiction, without satisfying the urge of the first cigarette of the day, sometimes, all kinds of wild behaviour can follow.

This was evidently the case for one Sydney woman who was charged with intimidation after she allegedly abused and threatened a man in the southern suburb of Kirrawee first thing in the morning, all because he refused to give her a cigarette.


Woman Asks Random Man for Cigarette; Ends Up Threatening and Kicking at Him

The Leader reports that just before 6.30am on 27 April 2020, a 38-year-old woman in Kirrawee moved towards a man on the Old Princes Highway and requested he give her a cigarette.

However, the man refused and this led to the woman allegedly turning aggressive and threatening him.

She then allegedly started kicking at the man, who did his best to refrain from reacting.

The man then simply started to walk away and remove himself from the situation.

Nevertheless, the woman allegedly followed him as he walked down the road and continued hurling abuse at him.

Concerned onlookers were forced to contact Sutherland Shire Police, following which officers soon arrived at the scene and commenced an investigation.

The 38-year-old woman was arrested not far away and taken to Sutherland Police Station.

She was charged with intimidation intending fear of physical harm, common assault, and behaving in offensive manner near a public place.

The Kirrawee woman was refused bail and after appearing at Central Local Court, was formally granted bail to attend Sutherland Local Court on 25 June 2020.


Incident Sparks Debate on Social Media Around Abuse and Equal Rights

As NSW Police Force informed the public of the incident on their Facebook page, a debate around abuse equal rights soon sparked by users in response.

“This is what happens when men are raised with the idea ‘don’t hit a woman’, he should’ve smacked her one once she kicked him instead of walking away and letting her continue,” wrote one user.

Another person commented, “Another female perpetrator and male victim, yet Governments and NGOs continue to promote the Duluth narrative that women can only be victims and blaming all men as perpetrators. Stereotypes do nothing for victims, everyone has the right to be safe.”

“Just hit her back,” urged one male, while another commended the man for his lack of retaliation, saying, “Good on him for his restrain. Many would have attacked back”.

Meanwhile, one user debated the issue of entitlement given the steep price of cigarettes.

“Why do some people think they are entitled to other peoples’ things? I hear cigarettes are pretty much $2 each now, so why should this guy give her one just because she asks?” the woman questioned.

Nevertheless, for many, the conclusion was simply that the woman was a “junkie” and “probably off her face”.

Have a question? Speak to experienced criminal lawyers from Sydney today.

What is ‘Intimidation’ Under the Law?

According to NSW legislation, intimidating behaviour is identified across a broad spectrum and covers a range of conduct.

‘Intimidation’ is considered to be any behaviour or action that causes harassment or molestation.

It includes approaching a person in a manner that results in that person to fear safety. This can be by way of text message, social media (cyberbullying), call or other technological means. For example, this includes threats to a person causing fear of safety or violence.

Intimidation can also include behaviour that causes ‘reasonable apprehension’ of injury, damage or violence to a person or property belonging to a person.

Intimidation attracts up to 5-years jail or $5,500 fine, or both, as outlined by section 13 Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW).

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