Sending threatening emails

Main offences under harassment law        

Sending a threatening or malicious message using a public electronic communications network, including sending such a message by email, can comprise an offence under the Communications Act 2003.  Additionally, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 can apply to threatening messages sent by email or by other forms of communication.  Both criminal penalties and civil remedies are given.  Under s1 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 a person must not pursue a course of conductwhich amounts to harassment of another and which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.  Following an amendment to this Act by s125 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, a new s1A has been inserted, which states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct:

  • which involves harassment of two or more persons, and

  • which he knows or ought to know involves harassment of those persons, and

  • by which he intends to persuade any person (whether or not one of those mentioned above) –

  •  not to do something that he is entitled or required to do, or

  •  to do something that he is not under any obligation to do.

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For more information on:

  • Course of conduct
  • Knowledge
  • Other elements of harassment and examples of the offence being committed by email
  • Defences
  • Aggravated harassment
  • Civil remedies
  • Incitement