Definition of the phrase “death threat”

source: Wikipedia

“A death threat is a threat (often made anonymously) against a person to kill him or her. Death threats are often intended to intimidate victims (such as dissuading them from pursuing a criminal investigation or an advocacy campaign). In other cases, people use death threats to manipulate behavior. Death threats are most commonly made against public figures, though they are also made against less public figures; they are made through a wide range of mediums, including letters, newspaper publications, telephone calls, internet blogs,[1].”

I note that death threats may be used to manipulate behaviour, and to
discourage victims “from pursuing a criminal investigation or an advocacy
campaign”.


A local Barbadian perspective of death threats

The definition above has too much of an American flavour. To get a Barbadian
perspective, let’s read a comment from a former officer with the Royal Barbados Police Force. His name is Kadri Walcott and his comment appears under this Barbados Free Press article. Here is a link to Kadri’s comment. I would like to commend Mr. Walcott on his willingness to share his perspectives. Mr. Walcott is a very intelligent person and I read every word of his comments.

The gist of his comment is that the operator(s) of BFPE are very smart, and that they have carefully chosen their words to keep within Barbadian law. His words “there are many points to prove under the non fatal offences act and under de area of threatening words, you must prove the threat was made direct, ask any attorney” imply that Kadri feels that the local lawyers also share his views. These words may even imply that he has spoken to a local lawyer.

Kadri’s closing words send a big chill down my spine:
“…. these people are not regulars, they know the law.”

This implies that Kadri feels that people with an advanced knowledge of local law are behind BFPE! The implications are mind-boggling!

Kadri ends it all with:
“just some guidance, up to you to listen or ignore”

My interpretation of Kadri’s overall conclusion is that it would be extremely difficult to successfully prosecute these threats in the Barbadian court system, as neither the police nor the lawyers will necessarily find the cleverly-worded statements criminal. His advice appears to be that the victims should not pursue the matter. Mr. Walcott’s perceptive advice is highly appreciated. Indeed, with his background in law enforcement, I would be grateful for any additional advice or comments that he might have.


Cartoon Court - Simpson Style

I am not a lawyer. My legal expertise on death threats was acquired by watching the “Cape Feare” episode of the Simpsons.(photo below)
Here are some quotes on this episode:

“After receiving several death threats in the mail, Bart starts to become easily frightened. It is revealed that the writer is Bart’s arch-enemy, Sideshow Bob, residing in Springfield State Prison. The next day, Sideshow Bob’s parole hearing is held and Chief Wiggum and Selma
give their testimonies, which Sideshow Bob’s lawyer rebuffs.”

Vanity Fair: “Great moment: Prosecutor: “What about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn’t it say die bart die?” Sideshow Bob: “No, that’s German [unveils tattoo] for the bart the.” [courtroom murmurs in collective understanding.] Female parole-board member: “No one who speaks German could be an evil man.”"

“Sideshow Bob promises that he is no threat to Bart and is swiftly paroled.” Then, “Sideshow Bob goes around Evergreen Terrace in an ice-cream truck, calling out the names of all the people whom he will not kill, and Bart’s name is not on that list.”

Marge goes “to Chief Wiggum only to be told that Sideshow Bob has not broken any laws”.

Editor’s note: I cannot be absolute sure, but in a previous episode I recall seeing this: Sideshow Bob breaks into Bart’s bedroom and is very frustrated when Bart is not there. Bob pulls out a large dagger, cuts his forearm and writes the words “Die Bart! Die!” on Bart’s wall, using his own blood. All of this did not impress Chief Wiggum or the parole board. On the contrary, the board is swayed by Bob’s proclamations of love and admiration for Bart.

In defence of the cartoon parole board, Sideshow Bob did not write that he was going to actually kill Bart. He merely used the words “Die Bart! Die!”. However, I feel sure that if the cartoon parole board believed that the offending phrase were written in English, then Sideshow Bob would have been denied parole.

My question here is: “How would the Barbadian Courts view Sideshow Bob’s antics?”


Threat related links: she might’ve been wooin’ martyrdom ( from Doan Mind Me - Bhutto) - Latin American journalists still face threats - Organized Crime Threats - Chinese blogs threatened - Journalist Threatened in Mexico - Death threats dog female blogger  -  Journalist covers drug cartels despite death threats