By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
It was a lucky escape for a NSW police officer who managed to get away with only a minor injury to her arm after a large rock was thrown down at her police vehicle as she drove in the north west of Boggabilla in the early hours of the morning.
The Northern Daily Leader reports that around 12:10am on 26 April 2020, officers attached to New England Police District were circuiting the streets of Toomelah – an Aboriginal Australian community in the far north inland of NSW – when a boulder was hurled at the police vehicle.
It is alleged the projectile collided with the driver’s side window, resulting in it fragmenting and hitting the officer’s arm.
It is believed her eyes also suffered minor injury.
The officer attended Goondiwindi Hospital where she was treated for her injuries to her arm and eyes.
Now, police are appealing for help (https://www.northerndailyleader.com.au/story/6736766/police-officer-injured-after-rock-thrown-at-car/) from members of the public who may have information, video or dashcam footage of the incident in order to track down the culprit.
Police Issue Stern Warning that “Violence Towards Police Will Not Be Tolerated”
Addressing the dangerous incident, Officer in Charge at Moree Police Station, Inspector Martin Burke, expressed his disappointment around the conduct to the officer, particularly in light of the hard work being carried out to protect the public in response to COVID-19.
“We have been working closely with stakeholders and the community of Toomelah in recent weeks in response to COVID-19,” Inspector Burke said.
“Violence towards police will not be tolerated in any circumstance, especially while we are trying to protect our community.”
Members of Boggabilla and Wider Community Express Frustration Over Continuous Rock-Throwing Incidents in the Area
As members of the Boggabilla and wider community learned of the news of the rock-throwing incident, unsurprisingly, many echoed a similar sentiment.
In a Facebook update posted by the New England Police District (https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandPD/posts/2855697534477801) advising of the injured police officer, the online community made their frustration clear, drawing attention to rock-throwing being a continuous problem in the area.
“Now you might do something about it us truck drivers have been complaining about for years and not much has been done,” one Facebook user criticised.
“Disrespectful in every sense,” commented another.
One user underscored that the unruly behaviour is “nothing unusual”.
“It happens all the time there and Boggabilla and Moree truckies cop it night and day it’s the same old suspects and nothing happens to them, just more crap from our wonderful first nations people,” the social media user wrote.
Meanwhile, another expressed the gravity of such an offending, likening it to murder.
“Rock throwers should be charged with attempted murder, about as low as spitting on people, same as the house fires nothing will change until someone dies… crap soft legal system,” the exasperated male wrote.
The Dangers of Throwing Rocks at Moving Vehicles
Throwing rocks at moving vehicles is no laughing matter.
While some may engage in the behaviour as a mere prank, the conduct is, in fact, extremely dangerous, with the ability to cause drivers and their passengers significant injuries and even death.
If a vehicle is travelling at high speeds on a road, a rock thrown down at it will instantly cause the windshield or surrounding windows to fragment.
But the repercussions don’t end there.
The shock of a windshield suddenly shattering on a driver can result in them losing control of their vehicle.
In turn, this can lead them to crash into other motorists on the road or even a pedestrian nearby.
Given the force, this could easily leave the driver, passengers, or other road users dead.
Indeed, hurling a rock or even any such object holds lethal power.
For more information on this law, call our Sydney based criminal lawyers (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/) today.
Is it a Crime to Throw a Rock at a Car? (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/blog/the-law-and-penalties-for-throwing-rocks-or-other-objects-at-vehicles-or-vessels-in-nsw/)
In NSW, it is an offence to throw rocks and other objects at vehicles or vessels, which is reflected in section 49A Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) (https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1900/40/part3/div6/sec49a).
Given the dangerous nature of this conduct, the penalties you can face for an offence are weighty.
In NSW, the maximum penalty for throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles or vessels is five years in jail.
It should be noted that this includes a vehicle or vessel that is stationary at the time that has an object thrown or dropped on it.
Moreover, a “vehicle” doesn’t just have to be a motor vehicle.
As outlined in section 4 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) (https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2013/18/chap1/part1.2/sec4), a vehicle also includes trains or trams, bicycles, and vehicles drawn by an animal or an animal ridden by a person.
The alternative to this charge is the offence of intentionally or recklessly damaging property (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/blog/the-law-and-penalties-for-intentionally-or-recklessly-destroy-or-damage-property-in-nsw/).