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An Iconic Sydney man notorious for holding signs of peace and love has been injured during a police arrest attempt.

Mr Lim is well-known for exhibiting social and political messages while wearing a sandwich board around Sydney with his dog as his companion.

A social media video shows footage that officers attempted to detain the Sydney Activist Mr Danny Lim in a shopping complex on George Street in Sydney.

The 78-year-old man was taken to hospital after footage shows Mr Lim being forced headfirst into the ground by police officers.

Mr Lim yelled “let me go” as the two officers grabbed his arm, ultimately tripping him and causing him to fall onto the tiled floor.

“An independent review has been launched, which will examine the actions of police during the incident” NSW police said.

Reported injuries included a black eye and subdural haematoma.

The Police were called to the scene due to an issue with a protester who did not comply with directions to ‘move on’ according to NSW police.

Mr Lim was wearing a sign that included the word “cvnt” like one that he was previously fined $500 over but was successfully contested in court in 2019.

In 2019 the magistrate who presided the court condemned the then arrest by the police was “heavy-handed and unwarranted” and his sign whilst “cheeky” should not be considered criminally offensive.

“The man’s arrest was discontinued after he struggled with police and sustained an injury to his cheekbone,” NSW Police stated

A public outroar has called the attempted arrest “outrageous, shameful and unconscionable.”

Mr Lim has not been charged with any offences.


When Can Police Lawfully Arrest You?

Police can either arrest you with a warrant or without a warrant, provided that when arresting without a warrant, the police officer comply with certain safeguards outlined in section 99 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) (‘LEPRA’).

A police officer is allowed to lawfully arrest you without a warrant according to section 99 LEPRA if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that you are committing or have committed an offence, and at that same time, the police officer honestly believed that the arrest is reasonably necessary for any one or more of the reasons outlined in section 99(1)(b) LEPRA including to stop you from committing or repeating the offence, to protect the safety or welfare of any person (including you), to preserve evidence or prevent evidence from being fabricated or to stop you from fleeing the scene.

A police officer can also arrest you without a warrant if directed to do so by another police officer. The other police officer is not to give such a direction unless the other officer satisfies the above section 99 requirements.

An arrest can also at any stage be discontinued by the police officer.

Following an arrest, police can then lawfully detain you for purposes of investigating whether you committed the offence for which you were arrested.

How much force can police use to arrest you? Police can, when trying to lawfully arrest you, use such force as is reasonably necessary to execute the arrest, according to section 230 and 231 of LEPRA.

An arrest is illegal and unlawful if the above section 99 is not satisfied. An unlawful arrest can result in the police being sued and criminal charges of assault against the police officer. In addition, it can also result in the charges against an accused person to be dismissed early or following a court hearing.

What amounts to suspicion on reasonable grounds? A reasonable suspicion is less than a belief but more than a possibility. A factual basis for the suspicion must be show. A police officer when arresting without a warrant, must form this level of suspicion that you have or are committing an offence.

Do Police have to have an intention to charge you at time of arrest? When a police officer decides to arrest you, the officer is required to have an intention to charge you. This does not mean that the officer will end up charging you. Once arrested, the office can detain you for investigation and at any time discontinue the arrest and deal with you in an alternative way.

When is an arrest considered reasonably necessary? if police are arresting you for any one or more reasons outlined in section 99(1)(b) LEPRA, the arrest must be considered “reasonably necessary” for that reason. “Reasonably necessary” means reasonably appropriate and adapted. It requires the officer to assess the situation at hand and make an evaluative judgment by making a process of comparison and evaluation. This requires the officer to consider alternatives to arrest. Alternatives can include issuing a future court attendance notice in the mail, issuing you a caution, warning, or fine.

The office must consider if other less drastic measures than arrest are available to address the same reason(s). It is a subjective test of what the officer believed at the time. There must also be a sense of proportionality into the officer’s decision making. The extent of the continuation of freedom creates a risk that the attainment of one or more of the states of law enforcements outcomes will be jeopardised.


Taser Use 

When can police use tasers in NSW? NSW police have guidelines they must follow in regard to the use of Conducted Electrical Weapons also known as Tasers.

The Guidelines state that tasers must be used at the discretion of the police in situations when it is “reasonably necessary.”

These circumstances that allow taser use include the following:

  • To protect human life
  • To protect yourself or others where violent confrontation or violent resistance is occurring or imminent
  • Protect officer(s) in danger of being overpowered or to protect themselves or another person from the risk of actual bodily harm
  • Protection from animals

If any force by police does not fit the criteria of ‘reasonably necessary” the force may be deemed unlawful and can result in the officer facing criminal charges.

By Jimmy Singh and Alyssa Maschmedt

Image credit: Holli

AUTHOR Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia

Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia are Leading Criminal Defence Lawyers, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Courts.

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