Dear Mr Turnbull,
Thank you for your seeking our advice in relation to this matter. We have now had opportunity to examine the facts and the applicable law and advise as follows.
The relevant law, section 15a of the NSW Crimes Act, can, we believe, be interpreted in your favour in relation to the offence of stalking.
Stalking is defined as:
… the following of a person about or the watching or frequenting of the vicinity of or an approach to a person’s place of residence, business or work or any place that a person frequents for the purpose of any social or leisure activity.
Intimidation is defined as:
(a) conduct amounting to harassment or molestation; or
(b) the making of repeated telephone calls; or
(c) any conduct that causes a reasonable apprehension of injury to a person or to a person with whom he or she has a domestic relationship, or of violence or damage to any person or property.
Under the terms of the Act, we feel that you may have grounds to proceed with an application for an Apprehended Violence Order against Mr Peter Costello, even though his behaviour fails to exhibit any inclination to actual physical violence. We feel that the implied threat to your material well-being may be sufficient cause for the issuing of an Order, given the sense, as you describe it in your letter of the 10th inst, of “constant, belligerent, but unspoken menace”.
The offence of stalking/intimidation was introduced in NSW in 1993. Section 562AB(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 provides that it is an offence to stalk or intimidate another person “with the intention of causing the other person to fear personal injury.” There is no requirement that the victim actually feared personal injury, provided the offender knew that his/her conduct was likely to induce or create such a fear. It is our belief that this can be construed to encompass leadership maneuverings within the Federal Liberal Party.
We await your further instructions in this matter,
Thomas F. Grabbit
Sue, Grabbit and Runne.