Assaulting a Police Officer

If you assault a police officer, or other peace officer, customs house officer, sheriff’s officer, prison officer or bailiff and the assault occurred while the said officer was executing his/her duty, you will be held guilty in the said offence.

Assaulting a police officer or officers is considered a grave offence because they are involved in community service and it is expected to treat with dignity. The court also tries to send out a message that assaults on police will be treated seriously by the courts.

 

THE LAW

The Law in relation to Assault police officer in the execution of their duty is found in section 60 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). It states in Subsection (1):

“A person who assaults throws a missile at, stalks, harasses or intimidates a police officer while in execution of the officer’s duty, although no actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer, is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.”

Subsection (1A) contains an aggravated offence relating to public disorder, which states:

“A person who, during a public disorder, assaults, throws a missile at, stalks, harasses or intimidates a police officer while in execution of the officer’s duty, although no actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer, is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.”

Subsection (2) contains an aggravated offence if the officer sustained actual bodily harm, which states:

“A person who assaults a police officer while in execution of the officer’s duty, and by the assault occasions actual bodily harm, is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.”

Subsection (2A) contains an aggravated offence relating to public disorder, where the officer sustained actual bodily harm, which states: “A person who, during a public disorder, assaults a police officer while in execution of the officer’s duty, and by the assault occasions actual bodily harm, is liable to imprisonment for 9 years.”?

Subsection (3) contains an aggravated offence if the officer sustained a wound or an injury amounting to grievous bodily harm, which states:

“A person who by any means: (a) wounds or causes grievous bodily harm to a police officer which in the execution of the officer’s duty; and (b) is reckless as to causing that actual bodily harm to that officer or any other person; is liable to imprisonment for 12 years.”

Subsection (3A) contains an aggravated offence relating to public disorder, where the officer sustained a wound or an injury amounting to grievous bodily harm, which states:

“A person who by any means during a public disorder: (a) wounds or causes grievous bodily harm to a police officer which in the execution of the officer’s duty; and (b) is reckless as to causing that actual bodily harm to that officer or any other person; is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.”

Depending on the section used to charge you and the degree of injury caused on the body, this offence is what is known as either a “Table 1” or “Table 2” offence under the relevant legislation. This means, it is to be dealt with in the Local Court unless it is elected to be dealt with on indictment by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

However, if grievous bodily harm occurred or the offence occurred as a result of a public disorder then the matter becomes “strictly indictable” which means the charge will be finalised in the District or Supreme Court. If the matter is dealt with in the District or Supreme Court, it will give rise to harsher penalties.

The nature and elements of the offence were considered in R v Hamilton (1993) 66 A Crim R 575 at 581 where Gleeson CJ stated:

“It is incumbent upon the Court, in dealing with offences of this nature, to show an appropriate measure of support for police officers who undertake a difficult, dangerous and usually thankless task.

 

MAXIMUM/POSSIBLE PENALTIES

A charge of Assault police officer in the execution of their duty can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 2 years (if heard in the Local Court) or up to 5 years (if heard in the District Court) unless the matter is aggravated or the offence occurs during a public disorder in which case the penalties range from up to between 7 and 14 years imprisonment.

Please note that the penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending and are unlikely to be the penalty you receive.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Wounding or grievous bodily harm with intent charge of:

  • Full-time Imprisonment;
  • An Intensive Correction Order (ICO);
  • A Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • A Conditional Release Order (CRO).

 

THE FACTS THAT MUST BE PROVEN

Assaulting a police officer in the execution of their duty is a criminal offence and thus the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution. The prosecution must prove the Accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To establish Assault police officer in the execution of their duty the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You Assaulted a person; and
  • That person was a police officer; and
  • At the time of the assault, that police officer was in the execution of their duty.

 

DEFENCES

Some of the possible defences available for those charged with Assault police officer in the execution of their duty include:

  • If you were compelled to act in a certain way due to the circumstances, or the threats of another you may be able to argue “Duress”;
  • If your actions were necessary to prevent a greater harm from occurring, you may have the defence of “Necessity”;
  • If you were defending yourself or another OR yours or another’s property you may have a Defence of “Self-Defence” even in situations where “Pre-Emptive Force” is used. Moreover, at times there be circumstances where you may argue that there was “No duty or need to retreat”.
  • You did not do the act as charged.

 

CHOICES AT LAW OPTIONS

For using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® offers the following options:

1.     We initiate negotiation with prosecutors (police) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) and plead to withdrawal or downgrade of the charge or alternatively, seek amendments to the police fact sheets or documents.

2.     At the hearing/trial, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® shall if you so instruct Plead Not Guilty and drive the argument based on prosecution’s inability to prove the elements of their accusation.

3.     Alternatively, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® may plead guilty on your instructions however, the hearing shall revolve around the facts with an objective to obtain a moderate or minimum punishment.

4.     Lastly, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® on your instructions enter a plea of guilt where you accept all the charges pressed by the police, but we present a case so solid on your behalf, with an objective to persuade and convince the Court to not record a criminal conviction against you.

For further information on your choices at law click on (CHOICES AT LAW tab on our website)

 

WHY REP-REVIVE CRIMINAL & EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS®

There are several reasons to engage Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers®:

  •  We are always in your corner

At Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® we understand the gravity of a criminal charge on your reputation. Thus, we work with the utmost diligence and fervour to restore any dints to our client’s repute. We fight for your rights and liberty earnestly, and for the best results, irrespective of the intensity of the matter. All these factors have made us known in the industry as always being in our client’s corner. 

  •  We bring about excellent results

Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® is driven by positive outcomes and defend your case with skills which have been sharpened by years of experience. You will be dealing with lawyers who are proficient at their craft and will defend your case with rigour and an aim to have the matter withdrawn, downgraded, dismissed or the minimal penalty available at law imposed.

Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® are adept in all forms of advocacy and will present your case in the most skilful manner in Court. 

  • Your case will be in the hands of an experienced lawyer

Irrespective of your decision in deciding the course of the case, you will be supported and guided by Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® who have been in the provision of legal service for over 21 years. 

If you are caught up in this charge our team at Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® are best suited for representing your case.

Please contact our office on 0419 998 398 or 0492 857 721 or email info@rpr5.sydney for more information. The first consultation is free.

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