Assaulting Police Officer Offences in NSW

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

A woman from Bondi Junction in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs has faced court after she allegedly assaulted an off-duty police officer and even ripped the hair off the officer’s scalp during her arrest.

The incident is reported to have occurred on Tuesday 30 March 2021 at Bondi Junction’s shopping centre on Spring Street, around 5:30pm.

The woman, aged 34, was suspected of committing “a series of random assaults” in Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction last month, and as a result, police launched an investigation to capture the woman.

Key to her being identified, according to NSW Police, was one piece of information about her appearance – namely that she carried around on her a “distinctive bum bag”.

On Tuesday evening, an off-duty female police officer spotted the woman at the Bondi Junction shopping centre, who attempted to arrest her.

Nevertheless, this did not stop the 34-year-old woman from counterattacking, who, in the process of being arrested, allegedly ripped the hair off the senior constable’s scalp.

She also kicked the officer, choked her, took a bite out of her arm, and even hit her in the face.

Members of the public rushed to the officer’s aid watching the horrific scene unfold, while some were also allegedly scratched and bitten by the offender.

The senior constable and the members of the public who faced injuries were treated at the scene by paramedics.

Ultimately, it took the arrival of a team of police officers from Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command who subdued the woman at the scene.

She was then arrested and taken to Waverley police station where she was charged with assault police officer in execution of duty causing actual bodily harm.

She was also charged with five counts of common assault, two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, destroy or damage property, resist or hinder police officer in execution of duty, and two counts of assault person aiding officer.

In NSW, it is against the law to assault a police officer in the execution of their duty, irrespective of whether actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer or not.

This includes ripping the hair off an officer’s scalp, or even biting them.

Assaulting Police Officer Offences in NSW

In NSW, this is reflected in section 60 of the Crimes Act 1990, which outlines heavy penalties for offences of assaulting police officers in their execution of duty.

Specifically, where an officer is assaulted while in the execution of duty however no actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer, the maximum penalty is five years in jail.

In the case where actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer, the maximum penalty jumps to seven years in jail with a standard three-year non-parole period.

If grievous bodily harm or wounding is occasioned to the officer, the maximum penalty is 12-years imprisonment with a 5-years standard non-parole period.

As per section 60, it should also be noted that other actions carried out against officers in the execution of duty can also attract the same penalties.

These include stalking, harassing, intimidating and even throwing a missile at an officer.

Additionally, where the assault or aforementioned actions take place during a public disorder, the maximum penalties increase further.

 

Around Seven Police Officers Assaulted Every Day at Work in NSW in Recent Years as Police Force Angered Their Rights Aren’t Being Prioritised Over Offenders’

In the last two years, it has been found that on average, around seven police officers are assaulted every day, at work across the state.

Nationally, this rate is even higher.

Overall, officers are declaring they are not being looked after by the courts, the medical association, and the government, as far as the assaults are managed.

In an exclusive interview with Today, Senior Constable Alex Christian of the Police Association of NSW spoke of his own experiences with assault, reflecting that the incidents he has lived through have been “nothing short of a disgrace”.

For the last seven years, Senior Constable Christian has served as a police officer.

In March 2019, he suffered a horrific bite to the arm while making an arrest in Bathurst.

“It wasn’t a small bite – he really sunk his teeth in there,” Senior Constable Cristian said.

“I tried to remove my arm from his mouth a number of times without success.”

During the assault, Senior Constable Christian recalled feeling “terror”, which was heightened as “the sight of having somebody latched onto a body part and trying to hurt you and refusing to let go” was not something he was used to.

Nevertheless, what left Senior Constable Christian particularly angered came in the way he was treated afterwards.

In most states across Australia, when an officer endures a bite or scratch, it is mandatory for the offender to have blood test to discern if any infectious diseases are present.

However, in New South Wales, the process is completely different and officers must wait six months for the particulars of an infectious test to return.

“I’ve been worried sick about this, it’s not something that leaves you,” Senior Constable Christian said.

“The thought of having some life altering disease is on your mind constantly.

If I could know this gentleman did not have an infectious disease, that would change my outlook significantly.

“Prioritising the rights of on offender over an NSW police officer simply doing his job. Where do my rights come into it?”

Questions on this topic? Call our experienced criminal lawyers today.

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