Image credit: Petar B photography.
Five men caught having a house party in Sydney’s west during the current COVID-19 lockdown have been charged with assaulting police after they attacked officers who attempted to shut down the gathering.
Around 4:10pm on Saturday 31 July 2021, police attended a home on Unicombe Crescent in Oakhurst, in the Blacktown local government area, after receiving reports from neighbours that a house party was taking place.
When officers arrived at the property, they observed a group of men drinking together in the garage and requested they each produce identification.
Nevertheless, the men refused, and when officers explained the group was in possible breach of COVID-19 restrictions, the situation swiftly turned into a frenzy.
In particular, the occupant of the home, a 44-year-old man, allegedly pushed an officer in the chest.
Then, as police quickly swooped to arrest him, the other four men, all aged in their 30s, intervened and allegedly become aggressive in an endeavour to hinder police from detaining the host.
What ensued was an ugly brawl, which left police forced to deploy pepper spray in order to control the situation and subdue the men.
Ultimately, all five males were detained and taken to Mt Druitt Police Station.
The 44-year-old owner of the home was charged with a string of offences, including assaulting police, intimidating a police officer in the execution of duty, resisting arrest, and not complying with COVID-19 directions.
His guests – a 32-year-old man from Mount Druitt, a 33-year-old from Leonay, a 38-year-old Rooty Hill man and a 30-year-old man from Hassell Grove – were similarly charged with multiple offences, including assaulting police, resisting and hindering police, and breaching COVID-19 restrictions.
The group is due to appear in Mt Druitt Local Court later this month to face the charges.
All but the 33-year-old were granted conditional bail.
According to a statement from NSW Police, the officers involved sustained “minor injuries” in the scuffle.
In NSW, section 60 of the Crimes Act 1990 makes clear that it is against the law to assault a police officer in the execution of their duty.
This is irrespective of whether actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer or not.
Where an officer is assaulted in the execution of duty and no actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer, a maximum penalty of five years in jail is in place.
However, if during the assault, actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer, the maximum penalty increases to seven years in jail with a standard three-year non-parole period.
Additionally, where an officer is assaulted in the execution of duty and grievous bodily harm is occasioned and the person is reckless as to causing the actual bodily harm to the officer or any other person involved, the maximum penalty again increases to 12 years in jail with a standard five-year non-parole period.
Tough Restrictions in Place for Blacktown and Sydney’s Western Suburbs
The Oakhurst incident comes as NSW Police launch a crackdown on the state’s COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, with eight western and southwestern Sydney local government areas plunged into tighter limitations.
The Blacktown council is one of these eight areas currently subject to the tougher restrictions, along with Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, Georges River, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Cumberland and Parramatta.
These areas have been identified as particularly high-risk for COVID-19 transmission.
The revised restrictions see all residents from the eight local government areas prohibited from venturing more than five kilometres from home for essential shopping or exercise, with the only exceptions being if you need medical care, are getting vaccinated, are an essential worker, or need an essential item which is not available locally.
Meanwhile, masks are now compulsory in these areas once stepping out of the house, with the fine for non-compliance increased from $200 to a weighty $500.
“If you step foot outside your household, you now need to wear a mask at all times,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has advised, who fears there are too many people in the eight areas having contact with others outside but not wearing masks.
A contingent of 300 Australian Defence Force personnel has been assigned to join NSW Police as they enforce the rules in the eight western and southwestern Sydney council areas.