Demanding with Menaces
It is an offence for a person with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause another loss to make an unwarranted demand with menaces. Menaces imply some element of threat, express or implied. What is or is not there is such a demand depends on the circumstances.
A person guilty of the offence may be on summary conviction be subject to a fine of up to €1,270 and up to 12 months imprisonment or both or on conviction on indictment to a fine and imprisonment up to 14 years.
The demand need not be made in person. The accused need not be motivated by a desire to gain or intend to cause loss.
The demand may be made verbally or in writing. It need not be complied with nor even actually communicated. The offence is constituted by making the demand.
The demand may be inferred. The offence may be committed irrespective of the value of what is demanded.
The demand must be unwarranted. This effectively means that it is unjustified. It does not matter that the accused’s belief is unreasonable, provided it is honest.
A demand will not be unwarranted if the defendant has reasonable grounds for making it or believes that it was a proper method of and believed it was a proper method of enforcement. A demand for payment of a lawful debt by itself is not a demand with menaces simply because it threatens civil proceedings.
There must be menaces accompanying the demand. The menace must have some substantial threat and must not be such as may be disregarded because it is entirely trivial or frivolous.
What constitutes a menace will depend on the circumstances. Ordinarily, it implies a threat and conduct which would affect a person of average normal courage to be influenced or apprehensive so they may accede to the demand. The intention required is that the accused / defendant makes a gain or causes a loss to the other.
Menaces may refer to any category of unpleasant consequence. It may include threats of violence. It may include any other detrimental and unpleasant consequences that may be a threatened, such as a threat to do something which would damage reputation. Provided the accused is aware of the likely effect on the victim, there is likely to be sufficient menaces.