Blackmail can be a very serious offence which has strict rules in the UK. Section 21 of the Theft Act 1968. The act explains UK blackmail law, in legal terms, to be when one makes unwarranted demands with menaces in order to attain personal gain or project loss on another. It does not matter whether the demands are possible or in what fashion the demands are made. These could be express, implied, written, spoken or through conduct.
If you meet the definition, then you may be liable of a blackmail charge unless you satisfy one of the defences. For example, if you had a reason to make your demands, you may not be charged with blackmail. Furthermore, you will not be charged if you do not meet any of elements required to satisfy the definition of blackmail which are as follows:
- That the defendant made a demand;
- With menaces;
- That the demand was unwarranted; or
- That the defendant has a view to make a gain for himself or another or have intent to cause a loss to another.
Many people tend to think that extortion and blackmail are the same. Extortion is a form of theft that occurs when the offender obtains money or property from someone using coercion. To constitute coercion, a threat of violence, destruction of property or improper government action has to be committed. Both extortion and blackmail are similar in that prosecutors and judges treat them as serious violations of the criminal laws.