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R v Garwood [1987] 1 All ER 1032 Court of Appeal

The appellant was charged with blackmail. During the deliberations, the jury sent a note to the trial judge asking whether if, to the victim who was timid, the appellant seemed more menacing than in fact he was, it amounted to menaces although others might not have found it menacing. The judge repeated the standard direction on menaces and indicated that the affect on the particular victim should be taken into account. The jury convicted and the defendant appealed.

Held:

The conviction was upheld. Lord Lane CJ said that 'menaces' was an ordinary word of which the meaning would be clear to and jury and only rarely would a judge need to enter on a definition. There were two such possible occasions:

1. where the threats might affect the mind of an ordinary person of normal stability but did not affect the person actually addressed; such circumstances amounted to a sufficient menace: R v Clear [1968] 1 QB 670.

2. where the threats in fact affected the mind of the victim although they would not have affected the mind of a person of normal stability; in such circumstances the existence of menaces was proved provided that the accused was aware of the likely effect of his actions on the victim.
 
Back to lecture outline on The Law of Blackmail