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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 82159
Experience:  Over 15 years in practice
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I am due to appear in court on 18/08/2022, for a blackmail

Customer Question

Hello, I am due to appear in court on 18/08/2022, for a blackmail charge, where I received £700. I am going to plead guilty, what sort of sentence can I expect for this?
JA: Is this a first-time offense?
Customer: Yes
JA: Where did the blackmail occur? Criminal law varies by location.
Customer: United Kingdom
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I’m not sure
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I was 20 years old when I committed the offence. I essentially blackmailed him over explicit pictures he sent to an account I made posing as a 14 year old girl. I did not threaten him with violence or anything of that sort however.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.
Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today. I am a barrister with over 15 years experience.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Please bear with me as I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you.

Sometimes I will get back to you very quickly, other times it's going to be longer and possibly hours or overnight

Please bear in mind that it takes me time to type answers and I also have clients and sometimes have to attend court so I may not get back to you immediately.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Do you have a solicitor?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Hello there, I do not currently have a solicitor as my solicitor left the firm which he was working at which as you can imagine is very inconvenient. Truthfully I am just a very scared young man who’s made a stupid mistake, and the grey guidelines of blackmail within UK law is just heightening my anxiety. This case is going to a magistrates court and all I really want is some sort of reassurance to the sort of sentencing I should expect. My dad has told me he thinks due to the relatively low amount of £700 and the fact it’s a first time offence, I should probably expect a fine and maybe some community service, but he isn’t a lawyer… I just really want some reassurance as this is weighing so heavily on my mental health, and has done for the last 16 months in which I’ve been released under investigation with absolutely no idea of what was going to happen next…
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

There is absolutely no prospect of a fine or a community order.  This is serious offending.

Are you saying the firm are not acting for you?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
What do you mean? Why is that? I thought if I plead guilty at a magistrates court the most I can expect is 12 months imprisonment?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

There are no guidelines for blackmail as it’s a pretty rarely prosecuted offence.

However, the caselaw is clear. You should be taking your property with you to court. The magistrates won’t sentence though. They will send this to the Crown court and your bail will probably continue.

But if this remains a blackmail, you are going to prison I’m afraid.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

As to custody, they will send it up to the Crown court.  If you plead then you will get maximum credit.

I don't know what the facts of the offence are but its nothing to do with the sum of money.

Normally its about 6-18 months immediate custody but it depends on the facts.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

This is serious offending.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Really? I was only 20 years old and this was a first offence, I’m so scared and anxious now
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

The better option is to try to negotiate it down to a malicious communication or the like.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Im really sorry but you are right to be anxious.

if this remains a blackmail, you are going to prison I'm afraid.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

I am sorry but I have to tell you the truth.

Do remember that I can only give you my opinion.

Another lawyer may have a different opinion. Litigation needs at least 2 parties and neither goes to court expecting to lose.

Nonetheless, one of them does, even though they have been told by their respective legal advisers that they have a good chance of success.

If there was a black-and-white answer to every legal problem there would be no need for anything to ever proceed to court.

The ultimate decision comes from a county court judge in a civil case or from the magistrate in a criminal case heard in the magistrates court or the jury in Crown Court.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Jo

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
How long should I expect to go in for?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

I don't know what the facts of the offence are but its nothing to do with the sum of money.

Normally its about 6-18 months immediate custody but it depends on the facts.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I feel so stupid and bad now, I literally did this because of some stupid gambling losses I had and now it’s going to ruin me
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Yes, its one of those offences that is very easily committed I'm afraid.

Are you sure the firm won't act for you?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
the firm have sent me paperwork to get legal aid
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

And have you filled that out?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I have
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

That would be a good thing to do.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Can I ask? Does it make a difference in terms of malice? I didn’t do this to harm the individual, I only wanted the money, I didn’t threaten violence, or murder… I was manipulative but I never meant to cause any harm
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

This is serious offending.

Threats of violence are a non issue.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
How can that be a non issue?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

I wouldn't go around saying you only wanted the money.  That is a massive aggravating feature.

You threatened to destroy somebody's life which is way worse than a threat of violence.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

And you orchestrated the entire situation so it was maintained over a period of time rather than a one off comment.

This is top end blackmail.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Also, I thought if one pleads guilty at a magistrates court it allows it to be dealt with there and then?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Then that is wrong.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Blackmail is indictable only anyway so all you can do is indicate a plea.

It will just be a sending.

I would take your property to the magistrates too although I think they would bail you again.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
you think I will go to court, then be bailed, and then have to go to a crown court?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Yes, as I said.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Okay, is there a chance I could be handed a suspended sentence?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Its not really realistic I'm afraid.

It would be a good outcome but you cannot rely on it.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Okay, it’s just I’ve done some research and found more than one UK blackmail case that’s similar to mine where they were given suspended sentences
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
In news articles
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

No, there aren't I'm afraid.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Its like not going to prison for rape or murder.  I'm sorry but you need to prepare for reality.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
There literally is I’ve just read them… whereabouts in the UK are you from, Jo?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

London.

Good luck with this.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Whatever you have read, people go to prison for this offence.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Wold it be better for me to call you to discuss further?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 17 days ago.

Not really.

You don't need to bear the cost of a call.  I won't be able to say anything else.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 16 days ago.

It was my pleasure to assist you. Please come back if anything else crops up and needs clarification.

Thank you for trusting Just Answer, and of course me, with your legal problem.

If you would like to reconnect with me at a later date, simply add me as a favourite expert and you can then tag me in a question by typing @JoC

Thanks again,