In New South Wales and all Australian jurisdictions, the courts consider crimes committed against the police as extremely serious offences, such as assaulting a police officer. Where a person is found guilty of common assault (against a person who is not police officer) under Section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), they will be liable to imprisonment for up to two years. Where a person is found guilty of assaulting a police officer under Section 60: Assault and other actions against police officers, they will be liable to imprisonment for up to 5 years.
The law intentionally imposes heavier penalties where crimes are committed against police officers as Parliament and the courts take the view that committing a crime against government employees and in particular law enforcement employees, is more serious than committing the same crime against ordinary members of the public.
If you have been charged with committing a crime against the police such as assault and other actions against police officers, you will need an expert criminal defence lawyer to ensure your case is properly defended and the best possible outcome is achieved. If you are found guilty of assaulting a police officer, a court may impose any of the following sentences:
The offence of assault and other actions against police officers provided in Section 60 of the Crimes Act contains a number of subsections, which contain aggravated forms of the offence. Subsection (1A) increases the penalty for assaulting a police officer if the offence was committed during a public disorder even though no actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer. The person may be imprisoned for up to 7 years.
Subsection (2) makes a person liable for up to 7 years imprisonment if the person causes actual bodily harm to a police officer during the execution of the officer’s duty. If actual bodily harm is caused to a police officer in the execution of their duty during a public disorder, the offender will be liable to imprisonment for 9 years.
Subsection (3) contains the offence of wounding or causing grievous bodily harm to a police officer while in the execution of the officer’s duty, or acting recklessly, which causes actual bodily harm to a police officer. If found guilty of this offence, an offender will be liable to imprisonment for 12 years. If this offence is committed during a public disorder, an offender will be liable to imprisonment for 14 years.
Subsection (4) prevents an offender from being found not guilty of Section 60 if they assault a police officer whilst the officer is not on duty but where the assault was committed as a consequence of, or in retaliation for, actions undertaken by that police officer in the execution of the officer’s duty, or because the officer is a police officer. In other words, just because the officer is not on duty at the time an assault was committed against them does not mean the offender is innocent of an offence under Section 60.
Section 58 of the Crimes Act makes it an offence to:
If a person is found guilty of committing an offence under Section 58, they will be liable to imprisonment for 5 years.
Section 19B of the Crimes Act provides that an accused person found guilty of murdering a police officer under this section is to have a mandatory life sentence imposed. This means if an accused person is found guilty of murdering a police officer, the court has no option but to send the person to prison for the rest of their life.
If you have been charged with an offence involving the police such as assault a police officer, you should contact George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers as soon as possible. Courts take offences against the police extremely seriously and you may be sent to prison for a long period of time.
For more information on assaults or any offence against the police, call George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers. We can represent you and argue for the most lenient sentence in the event you are found guilty. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be contacted on (02) 9261 8640 during business hours or 0412 423 569 outside of business hours. We may also be contacted via email at [email protected].