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30-year-old police officer, Ryan Barlow, who pleaded not guilty to assaulting an Aboriginal teenager in Sydney was found guilty by Local Court Magistrate Attia following a defended hearing heard at the Downing Centre Local Court at the beginning of this year.

Barlow violently arrested the young teen and was charged with one count of common assault. Barlow’s defence team argued that reasonable force was used when he conducted the controversial leg sweep at the Aboriginal teenager. The Court found that the force used was not reasonable, which resulted in a finding that the officer was not acting in the due execution of his duty as a police officer constituting a common assault at the Ward Park in Surry Hills where the incident infolded.

The video of the controversial arrest was circulated across the nation during the Black Lives Matter movement and made national headlines.

Whilst the leg sweep manoeuvre is not prohibited by police officers, it isn’t one that they are taught to use.

It is reported that the teenager was given just over 3 seconds to comply with police directions before Barlow conducted leg sweep, taking the teenager to the ground.

Barlow claimed that he felt threatened from the 16-year-old teenager after allegedly trying to kick him and a further officer before the arrest occurred. The Magistrate did not accept those claims due to the inconsistencies in the evidence.

Magistrate Attia said, “The risk of danger sought to be prevented was either minimal or non-existent… the teen was clearly, audibly and physically in pain.”

Barlow was sentenced with a conviction and 18 months community correction order with supervision.

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What is Common Assault?

Common assault is one of the lowest end type of assaults under the criminal law range of offences. It occurs if you voluntarily and intentionally commit an act that intentionally or recklessly causes another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence or fear, or sustain unlawful force, without consent, without a lawful excuse.

Common assault carries a penalty of up to two years imprisonment and/or $5,500 fine in New South Wales, prescribed by section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900.

Image credit: Stephen D. Gard 

Published on 27/12/2023

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AUTHOR Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.

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