There are four elements to the offence of kidnap:
• Taking of one person by another
• By force/fraud
• Without consent
• Without lawful excuse.
Carefully planned abductions where the victim is used as a hostage are likely to attract sentences of more than eight years’ imprisonment. The use of violence or firearms or the presence of other aggravating features will lead to much lengthier sentences.
False imprisonment is an offence under common law and is distinct from kidnap as involves purely the unlawful detention of the victim and does not involve the carrying away of the victim.