Communication network offences (Revised 2017)

Communications Act 2003, ss. 127(1) and 127(2)
Effective from: 24 April 2017

Triable only summarily:
Maximum: Unlimited fine and/or 6 months
Offence range: Band A fine – 15 weeks’ custody

User guide for this offence


Step 1 – Determining the offence category

The Court should determine the offence category using the table below.

Category 1      Higher culpability and greater harm

Category 2      Higher culpability and lesser harm or lower culpability and greater harm 

Category 3      Lower culpability and lesser harm

The court should determine the offender’s culpability and the harm caused with reference only to the factors below. Where an offence does not fall squarely into a category, individual factors may require a degree of weighting before making an overall assessment and determining the appropriate offence category.

CULPABILITY demonstrated by one or more of the following:

Factors indicating higher culpability

  • Targeting of a vulnerable victim
  • Targeting offending (in terms of timing or location) to maximise effect
  • Use of threats (including blackmail)
  • Threat to disclose intimate material or sexually explicit images
  • Campaign demonstrated by multiple calls and/or wide distribution
  • False calls to emergency services
  • Offence motivated by, or demonstrating, hostility based on any of the following characteristics or presumed characteristics of the victim(s): religion, race, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity

Factors indicating lower culpability

  • All other cases

 HARM demonstrated by one or more of the following:

Factors indicating greater harm

  • Substantial distress or fear to victim(s) or moderate impact on several victims
  • Major disruption

Factors indicating lesser harm

  • All other cases