The Penalty for Bitting a Police Officer While in Execution of Duty in NSW

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

A 47-year-old man, who is disqualified from driving until March 2039, has allegedly bitten a police officer during his arrest after he was spotted by authorities driving unlawfully in Sydney’s west.

The incident unfolded about 11:30am on Sunday 21 February 2021 when an officer from Georges River Traffic and Highway Patrol noticed a Nissan 350z exiting a service station on Concord Road, Concord.

According to a statement from NSW Police, the driver reversed onto Station Street so as to avoid officers.

Nevertheless, officers were able to locate the Nissan not long afterwards in the driveway of a house on Shackel Avenue.

At the scene, an officer advanced towards the disqualified driver, however, the man was quick to walk away.

When the officer stopped him, the man resisted arrest and both dropped to the ground.

As a struggle transpired, the man allegedly then bit the male officer’s hand, sinking his teeth deep enough to cause two puncture wounds.

At this point, a woman, who the man knows, walked out of the house and began to throw insults at the sergeant while obstructing the tenacious endeavour to arrest the man.

As a result, pepper spray was deployed to abate the scuffle.

The driver was arrested and taken to Burwood Police Station.

He was charged with assaulting a police officer in execution of duty causing actual bodily harm, resisting or hindering a police officer in the execution of duty; and driving a motor vehicle during disqualification period.

In NSW, it is an offence to assault a police officer while in the execution of the officer’s duty, regardless of whether or not actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer.

This is made clear in section 60 of the Crimes Act 1990 (NSW) and includes assaulting an officer, throwing a missile at them, stalking, harassing or even intimidating them.

Where a police officer is assaulted while in the execution of duty although no actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer, a maximum penalty of 5-years imprisonment applies.

However, where actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer, the maximum penalty increases to imprisonment of seven years in addition to a 3-year standard non-parole period.

 

Disqualified Driver Refused Bail as Sympathy Flows for Bitten Officer

On Monday 22 February, the man faced Burwood Local Court over the incident.

He was formally refused bail and will present to the same court in March 2021.

Meanwhile, the attacked officer was taken to Concord Hospital for treatment of his puncture wounds.

He was discharged, however will need to undertake additional blood tests.

Since the incident, sympathy has flowed for the assaulted officer, with many members of the public applauding his efforts in arresting the offender.

“I’m hoping the offender’s teeth fell out shortly after impact with the good sergeant’s hand… Speedy recovery sergeant, thank you for getting grubs like this off the street,” one person commented on a post on social media informing of the attack.

“Police shouldn’t have to repeatedly put up with this, zero tolerance! All the best to the policeman,” another wrote, the sentiment reverberated by another person who said, “Surprised someone that spaced out would have any teeth left to bite the officer with. Hope the officer is ok”.

Other users condemned the driver’s bad behaviour.

“Take the car off the man he can’t be trusted not to drive,” one person urged.

Another commented, “Just goes to show taking their licence off them doesn’t make a scrap of difference”.

 

The Dangers Facing Australian Police Officers in the Line of Duty

While many people don’t realise it, there copious dangers that officers face while they carry out their duties – some more serious than others.

According to the National Police Memorial honour roll, which commemorates the contribution of Australian police officers to the community who have died or been killed while on duty, fatalities from the last two decades reveals some eye-opening insights.

Specifically, between 2000 and 2019, 51 officers were killed across Australia – averaging two or three each year.

Officer fatalities tend to have a few main causes in particular.

These include assaults, accidents, and health-related incidents.

In fact, findings show Australian police officers mostly died as a result of accidents – 65% of all police fatalities – with road accidents being the foremost cause.

These fatalities tend to take place during seemingly low-risk activities, including general patrol duties.

Within this, 55% of accidents involve motor vehicles, while 21% comprise motorcycles.

Click here for a complete guide on the law and penalties for assaulting police in NSW.

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