Interfering with Police officers in the execution of their duties is viewed seriously by the Courts. This is because the Police often place themselves in dangerous situations in their effort to protect the community. As a result, Courts consider their options very carefully when sentencing these offences. If you believe you have been wrongly charged with an offence against the Police, you should have your case assessed by an experienced criminal lawyer to see where you stand.
What are examples of resisting/hindering?
- Lying to Police officers;
- Struggling against a Police officer trying to handcuff you following an arrest;
- Encourage someone to throw something at a Police officer;
- Encouraging someone else to struggle against an officer or run away from them;
- Spitting at Police officers;
- Blocking Police from accessing a particular area they seek to access.
What must be proven?
The Prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to establish a finding of guilt against you:
- That you resisted/hindered (or encouraged someone else to do the same) a Police officer;
- That the person was, in fact, a Police officer of the NSW Police, and;
- That the person was carrying out their duties as a Police officer at the time of the alleged offence.
What does ‘hinder’ mean?
Hinder has been taken to mean something less than “preventing”. It involves making the Police officer’s job more difficult, though not impossible.
What does ‘resist’ mean?
Resist is the idea of opposing by force some course of action which the Police officer is attempting to pursue.
What are the applicable penalties?
The maximum term of imprisonment is 12 months and/or a fine of $1,100.
Assault, Stalk or Intimidate Police
Assaulting a Police officer can occur in various forms ranging from punching, using threatening words, or throwing an object at a Police officer. As with a charge of hindering/resisting a Police officer in the execution of their duty these offences are viewed with high severity by the Court, where general and specific deterrence is a key factor in sentencing.
What must be proven?
The Prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to make a finding of guilt against you:
- That you assaulted, or stalked, or harassed, or intimidated;
- A Police officer;
- In the execution of their duty.
What amounts to an ‘assault’?
An assault is an act which causes another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful personal violence. The element of “fear” is the key when considering whether threatening words alone amount to an assault.
The assault must have been carried out intentionally or recklessly without the Police officer’s consent and without any lawful excuse.
What does ‘stalking’ mean?
Stalking means the following of a person about or the watching or frequenting of the vicinity of or an approach to a person’s place or residence, business, work or any place that a person frequents for the purpose of any social or leisure activity.
What does ‘harass’ mean?
Harass means words, conduct or action (usually repeated or persistent) that, being directed at a specific person, annoys, alarms, or causes substantial emotional distress in that person and serves no useful purpose.
What does ‘intimidate’ mean?
Intimidate means to render timid, to inspire with fear, to overawe, to cow, or to force to or deter from some action by threats or violence by inducing fear’. The act of intimidation must have the actual effect of intimidation on the other person.
What does a ‘missile’ mean?
A missile is any object that can be thrown or propelled at someone or something and has the capacity to injure, endanger or damage.
What are the applicable penalties?
|Assaulting a Police officer in execution of their duty||5 years imprisonment|
|Assaulting, throwing a missile at, stalking, harassing or intimidating a Police officer in execution of their duty||5 years imprisonment (7 years if committed during a public disorder)|
|Assault occasioning actual bodily harm against a Police officer in execution of their duty||7 years imprisonment (9 years if committed during a public disorder)|
|Wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm on a Police officer in execution of their duty||12 years imprisonment (14 years if committed during a public disorder)|
What are my available defences?
The following are potential defences you may raise:
- That the Police officer was not acting in the course of their duty;
- That the person was not a NSW Police officer;
- That you did not ‘hinder’ or ‘resist’ or ‘assault’ in the meaning of those words;
- That you resisted or hindered out of necessity (eg. to prevent serious injury or danger);
- That you were under duress (eg. you were threatened or coerced to act);
- That you acted in self-defence (eg. because the Police officer was using excessive force)
In assessing Assault Police, Resist Police and Hinder Police charges the question often arises about whether police were acting in the lawful execution of their duties at the time of the incident. Police are not acting lawfully, for example, if they were assaulting the person without a lawful excuse.
The prevalence of CCTV cameras and the use of mobile phones to record videos, has made the public more aware of the many examples of unlawful police arrests which may involve pushing the chest, tripping, tackling or forcing suspects to the ground when it appears totally unnecessary to do so and the use of capsicum or OC spray, batons, tasers or drawing firearms when there is no threat of resistance or lethal force. It is not surprising that some people attempt to defend themselves when they encounter police being unnecessarily aggressive.
We are here to help
Fourtree Lawyers have extensive experience defending clients facing Police offences in Court. It is an area of law where the receiving a Conditional Release Order with no conviction is a possibility depending on the circumstances. Your version of events may differ to those of the Police Officer who charged you. We will listen closely to your account to ensure that the Police facts are accurate.
Your lawyer can explain and guide you through the entire Court process and work with you to minimise the legal ramifications of your offence.
If a Section 10 or a no-conviction Conditional Release Order is not appropriate, our lawyers can help reduce any penalties, minimise any fines you may face and help you avoid or minimise a gaol term.
Contact our Central Coast Lawyers on 1300 529 444 as soon as possible. The earlier we can start building your legal defence the better your chance of getting the best possible outcome.
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Had the most amazing experience with Fourtree Lawyers kevin vierboom who represented my partner was helpful and understanding and we got a great result better then expected ? jane hogan, I was so blessed to have her by my side. They are an amazing team and i would recommend them to everyone also great value for money. Especially considering i only called the morning of the court case and they were all over it at my bek and call thankyou so much guys im so appreciative for all your help today
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No conviction CRO – Resist Officer in Execution of Duty & Behave in an Offensive Manner – Downing Centre Local Court
Our client is a 41-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast with his wife and 3 children. He is self-employed, running a business as a shop fitter/cabinetmaker.
Our client had been for an outing to the football in Sydney and became embroiled in an incident with another spectator. Our client was charged with Behave in an offensive manner in/near/a public place and Resist an officer in execution of duty. The resist officer offence carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and a $5,500.
Solicitor Denise McCarthy made submissions to the Magistrate as to our client’s remorse, his previous good character, unblemished record and contribution to the community.
The Magistrate found our client guilty of the offence however without proceeding to conviction ordered him to enter into a Conditional Release Order with an 18-month good behavior bond. This is similar to a Section 10(1)(b) under the new sentencing reforms.
Our client was extremely relieved to be able to maintain their clean criminal record and to finally put this unfortunate incident behind them.
No conviction CRO | Resist or hinder police officer in execution of duty | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 19-year-old female who lives on the Central Coast with her mother. She has just graduated from Year 12 and plans to study in Europe in 2019.
Our client was out with her boyfriend when she spotted someone who she believed damaged her car. Her suspicion was confirmed and an argument ensued. Police patrolling the area stepped in to break the parties up and attempted to place our client under arrest. Our client’s boyfriend began tugging at the Police officer’s arm and they used Capsicum spray on our client’s boyfriend because he was not letting go. Our client was then directed by Police to stay put, however she ran away. The following day she turned herself into the Police.
Our client was charged with resisting or hindering a police officer in execution of their duty, which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment and/or a $1,100 fine.
Solicitor Erin Nulty made submissions in mitigation of the penalty. Erin focused on our client’s clean criminal record, her distinguished academic achievements and her plans to study overseas. The Magistrate saw fit to deal with our client by a 6-month Conditional Release order (CRO) without proceeding to conviction.
The result was excellent as a conviction would have jeopardised our client’s ability to obtain a student visa. Our client was very pleased
Our client is a 21-year-old male who lives with his grandparents north of Newcastle. He works full-time as an early childhood educator and is on medication for his depression.
Our client was visiting friends on the Central Coast. He attended a Hotel and consumed about 12 schooners between 09:00pm and 01:00am then made the foolish decision to drive to his father’s place, some 6-minute drive away. On the route he collided with a gutter and a no stopping sign and immediately called the Police who arrived at the scene and subjected our client to a breath analysis which returned a positive reading of 0.181 grams of alcohol in 210 litres of breath.
Our client was conveyed to Gosford Police Station where he was uncooperative with the officers, kicking one and making their task generally difficult. Our client was charged with High Range PCA and assault officer in execution of their duty.
Solicitor Denise McCarthy made submissions in mitigation of the penalty. The Magistrate convicted our client and sentenced him to a 6-month licence disqualification and a 24-month interlock licence thereafter and a $900 fine (High Range PCA), and a 12-month CCO with 75 hours of community service for the assault charge.
Considering the maximum penalty for a High Range PCA is $3,300 and/or a fine or imprisonment for 3 years, and a $5,500 fine and 2 years imprisonment for assault Police the outcome was excellent.