Skip to content Skip to main navigation

No more self defence when assaulting a police officer

By johnboy - 8 December 2011 72

For the small numbers of our readers who make a habit of punching on with the cops Simon Corbell has the sad news that a common law loophole is being removed.

The ACT Labor Government will today propose changes to the law on self-defence involving assaults on police officers and improve sentencing considerations for offences against police officers, emergency service workers, care and protection workers, nurses and other officials providing a service to the public, Attorney General, Simon Corbell, announced.

“This bill overrides the common law, which currently allows people to claim self defence when they assault police in the course of an arrest or while under police restraint,” he said.

“This bill means that a defendant would not be able to claim self defence if they assault police where the arrest or restraint by police is lawful or the police have acted in good faith and used reasonable force.

“We currently have the unfortunate situation where a person can argue that they believe their arrest is unlawful to justify the use of violence against police. This is simply not acceptable.

If a person believes they have been arrested unlawfully, the issue can be quickly and properly remedied when the person is brought before a magistrate. This would ordinarily happen within hours. Further people unlawfully arrested may lodge a civil claim for damages or complain to bodies such as the Ombudsman.

Self defence will still be available to a defendant if they responded with violence to protect themselves against some other unlawful act by police, such as an assault or imminent assault by police.

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments
72 Responses to
No more self defence when assaulting a police officer
1
LSWCHP 7:17 pm
08 Dec 11
#

This is a bloody great move!

There must be a serious disturbance in The Force. In one week I’ve approved of something done by the greens, the libs *and* ACT labor. Surely these are The End of Days…

Report this comment

2
Mental Health Worker 6:50 am
09 Dec 11
#

“If a person believes they have been arrested unlawfully, the issue can be quickly and properly remedied when the person is brought before a magistrate. This would ordinarily happen within hours.”

In Canberra? Get real, Corbell. “within hours” means the next court day, which can be more than 36 hours, especially on long weekends. Your day in court may well follow an unpleasant night or two in the Watchhouse (hopefully without being sprayed with capsicum foam for fun, as used to happen in the WH) and possibly even in the AMC, mixing with hardened criminals. (Police no longer keep arrestees for more than 36 hours, so on weekends they hand some over to the AMC.)

And the chances of a complex question like this being “remedied” on the first court appearance is pretty slim, especially as you’re locked up unable to prepare your case, so expect your name to be sullied, you may lose your job due to absence (while in custody) or the damage to reputation, while you to try to mount your defence. Plus the cost of defending the charges.

“Arrest” may sound anodyne, but it involves the deprivation of liberty, which if you or I commit it, is a serious and violent offence, but apparently the cops can do it when they like, and you can’t resist if it’s unjustified.

Corbell claimed on ABC yesterday morning that there are no dodgy police officers, which is so patently impossible (what are they, robots?) and has been shown in the past to be untrue, that you have to wonder what his motives are – he’s clearly trying to butter up the AFP for some reason.

MHW

Report this comment

3
colourful sydney rac 8:08 am
09 Dec 11
#

Mental Health Worker said :

“If a person believes they have been arrested unlawfully, the issue can be quickly and properly remedied when the person is brought before a magistrate. This would ordinarily happen within hours.”

In Canberra? Get real, Corbell. “within hours” means the next court day, which can be more than 36 hours, especially on long weekends. Your day in court may well follow an unpleasant night or two in the Watchhouse (hopefully without being sprayed with capsicum foam for fun, as used to happen in the WH) and possibly even in the AMC, mixing with hardened criminals. (Police no longer keep arrestees for more than 36 hours, so on weekends they hand some over to the AMC.)

And the chances of a complex question like this being “remedied” on the first court appearance is pretty slim, especially as you’re locked up unable to prepare your case, so expect your name to be sullied, you may lose your job due to absence (while in custody) or the damage to reputation, while you to try to mount your defence. Plus the cost of defending the charges.

“Arrest” may sound anodyne, but it involves the deprivation of liberty, which if you or I commit it, is a serious and violent offence, but apparently the cops can do it when they like, and you can’t resist if it’s unjustified.

Corbell claimed on ABC yesterday morning that there are no dodgy police officers, which is so patently impossible (what are they, robots?) and has been shown in the past to be untrue, that you have to wonder what his motives are – he’s clearly trying to butter up the AFP for some reason.

MHW

Oh come on. Even I think that is over the top.

Report this comment

4
Thumper 9:11 am
09 Dec 11
#

Mental Health Worker said :

“If a person believes they have been arrested unlawfully, the issue can be quickly and properly remedied when the person is brought before a magistrate. This would ordinarily happen within hours.”

In Canberra? Get real, Corbell. “within hours” means the next court day, which can be more than 36 hours, especially on long weekends. Your day in court may well follow an unpleasant night or two in the Watchhouse (hopefully without being sprayed with capsicum foam for fun, as used to happen in the WH) and possibly even in the AMC, mixing with hardened criminals. (Police no longer keep arrestees for more than 36 hours, so on weekends they hand some over to the AMC.)

And the chances of a complex question like this being “remedied” on the first court appearance is pretty slim, especially as you’re locked up unable to prepare your case, so expect your name to be sullied, you may lose your job due to absence (while in custody) or the damage to reputation, while you to try to mount your defence. Plus the cost of defending the charges.

“Arrest” may sound anodyne, but it involves the deprivation of liberty, which if you or I commit it, is a serious and violent offence, but apparently the cops can do it when they like, and you can’t resist if it’s unjustified.

Corbell claimed on ABC yesterday morning that there are no dodgy police officers, which is so patently impossible (what are they, robots?) and has been shown in the past to be untrue, that you have to wonder what his motives are – he’s clearly trying to butter up the AFP for some reason.

MHW

Nice rant man.

Report this comment

5
whitelaughter 9:17 am
09 Dec 11
#

@mental health worker – do you really think that taking a swing at the copper arresting you is going to improve matters?
Also, the longer you’re held, the longer you have to get a lawyer/for your lawyer to prepare your case, so swings and roundabouts.
When I was getting my security licence, we were repeatedly warned that the penalty for false arrest was five grand – granted that they probably emphasised the high end to discourage idiocy, even the possibility of a fraction of $5000 in damages would be enough to encourage me to play along and be a good little citizen.

Report this comment

6
P Taker 11:14 am
09 Dec 11
#

Mental Health Worker – Where do you hang out so I can avoid you?

Report this comment

7
p1 12:35 pm
09 Dec 11
#

Self defence will still be available to a defendant if they responded with violence to protect themselves against some other unlawful act by police, such as an assault or imminent assault by police.

Still a fair bit of lee way here for lawyers to waste a lot of court time arguing for self defence.

“I thought the cops were going to assault me so I hit ‘um.”

“What happened then?”

“They hit me.”

“Your Honour, I put it too you that my clients assumption that the cops were about to hit him was born out by events….”

Report this comment

8
Tooks 4:44 pm
09 Dec 11
#

Mental Health Worker said :

“If a person believes they have been arrested unlawfully, the issue can be quickly and properly remedied when the person is brought before a magistrate. This would ordinarily happen within hours.”

In Canberra? Get real, Corbell. “within hours” means the next court day, which can be more than 36 hours, especially on long weekends. Your day in court may well follow an unpleasant night or two in the Watchhouse (hopefully without being sprayed with capsicum foam for fun, as used to happen in the WH) and possibly even in the AMC, mixing with hardened criminals. (Police no longer keep arrestees for more than 36 hours, so on weekends they hand some over to the AMC.)

And the chances of a complex question like this being “remedied” on the first court appearance is pretty slim, especially as you’re locked up unable to prepare your case, so expect your name to be sullied, you may lose your job due to absence (while in custody) or the damage to reputation, while you to try to mount your defence. Plus the cost of defending the charges.

“Arrest” may sound anodyne, but it involves the deprivation of liberty, which if you or I commit it, is a serious and violent offence, but apparently the cops can do it when they like, and you can’t resist if it’s unjustified.

Corbell claimed on ABC yesterday morning that there are no dodgy police officers, which is so patently impossible (what are they, robots?) and has been shown in the past to be untrue, that you have to wonder what his motives are – he’s clearly trying to butter up the AFP for some reason.

MHW

You really are absolutely clueless, aren’t you?

Report this comment

9
TheObserver 5:08 pm
09 Dec 11
#

Bloody hell. The Yellow Pages will be at a premium. The thing is, if it is as clear as a dick on a dog that the cops did go OTT and the person took a swing, there are still Magistrates and Judges with enough decency to recognise that – and ensure and acquittal. Canberra Juries have pretty good BS detectors also. Dumb move by a dumb Attorney. Simon – do us a favour and bugger off and get a law degree and then do at least 15 years in practice. Up until then you wont be a pimple on an Attorney General’s right buttock.

Report this comment

10
Mental Health Worker 7:20 pm
09 Dec 11
#

No reasoned responses, as usual. Just abuse. Whatever happened to debate? Playing the ball and not the man?

I mean what kind of a response is “the longer you’re held, the longer you have to get a lawyer/for your lawyer to prepare your case”. Is the poster really recommending longer periods on remand in custody to allow preparation of a case? And you’ll pay for the lawyer how?

Out of touch are the people who clearly have no knowledge of the workings of the criminal justice system.

Taking a swing at a police officer is obviously never to be recommended, but to outlaw self-defence in ANY circumstances, however narrow, would probably be unconstitutional in countries that had a modern constitution.

MHW

Report this comment

11
Jethro 9:03 pm
09 Dec 11
#

Not a Canberra event, but still worth pondering….

Under the new system what would happen to the girl stripped of her costume tent in Melbourne by the group of 5 or 6 police officers? As far as I have been able to work out she was breaking no laws and the police had no legal basis to restrain her and, in particular, remove her clothes (albeit tent-costume-clothes). Under the new laws, would she be able to defend herself using the self defence argument, given that:

Self defence will still be available to a defendant if they responded with violence to protect themselves against some other unlawful act by police, such as an assault or imminent assault by police.

I don’t want this to be seen as an anti-police thing, or a pro-OWS thing (I basically see them as misguided at best). Nonetheless, I did think the incident in Melbourne was disturbing and wondered at the time what would have happened if the girl fought back.

Report this comment

12
dpm 9:05 pm
09 Dec 11
#

Mental Health Worker said :

No reasoned responses, as usual. Just abuse. Whatever happened to debate? Playing the ball and not the man?

I mean what kind of a response is “the longer you’re held, the longer you have to get a lawyer/for your lawyer to prepare your case”. Is the poster really recommending longer periods on remand in custody to allow preparation of a case? And you’ll pay for the lawyer how?

Out of touch are the people who clearly have no knowledge of the workings of the criminal justice system.

Taking a swing at a police officer is obviously never to be recommended, but to outlaw self-defence in ANY circumstances, however narrow, would probably be unconstitutional in countries that had a modern constitution.

MHW

Dont freak out but may I suggest a couple of things:
1) I imagine the poster who commented on ‘being held longer meaning more time to prepare case’ was simply responding (in a devils advocate fashion) to your complaint of people were commonly being held longer than was mentioned by C.S., yet you also complained that they were ‘unable to prepare (their) case’. I guess they were simply pointing out to you that IF they were held longer (one of your issues) they WOULD have more time to get a lawyer and prepare a case etc (another of your issues)? This argument of yours probably seemed a contradiction to many people, that’s all…..
2) I’m also guessing that people didn’t bother with a ‘resoned response’ to your posts as you already have a strong stance that cannot be ‘reasoned’ (i.e debated) with, so why would they bother trying to convince you of their viewpoint….?
Just my 2 cents….!

Report this comment

13
dpm 9:07 pm
09 Dec 11
#

Sorry, that should be S.C (Simon Corbell), not C.S! 😛

Report this comment

14
jcitizen 9:08 pm
09 Dec 11
#

Mental Health Worker said :

“If a person believes they have been arrested unlawfully, the issue can be quickly and properly remedied when the person is brought before a magistrate. This would ordinarily happen within hours.”

In Canberra? Get real, Corbell. “within hours” means the next court day, which can be more than 36 hours, especially on long weekends. Your day in court may well follow an unpleasant night or two in the Watchhouse (hopefully without being sprayed with capsicum foam for fun, as used to happen in the WH) and possibly even in the AMC, mixing with hardened criminals. (Police no longer keep arrestees for more than 36 hours, so on weekends they hand some over to the AMC.)

And the chances of a complex question like this being “remedied” on the first court appearance is pretty slim, especially as you’re locked up unable to prepare your case, so expect your name to be sullied, you may lose your job due to absence (while in custody) or the damage to reputation, while you to try to mount your defence. Plus the cost of defending the charges.

“Arrest” may sound anodyne, but it involves the deprivation of liberty, which if you or I commit it, is a serious and violent offence, but apparently the cops can do it when they like, and you can’t resist if it’s unjustified.

Corbell claimed on ABC yesterday morning that there are no dodgy police officers, which is so patently impossible (what are they, robots?) and has been shown in the past to be untrue, that you have to wonder what his motives are – he’s clearly trying to butter up the AFP for some reason.

MHW

I was threatened to be shot in the head, by a AFP member over the telephone, when I tried to make a complaint requiring Police attendance. A Police officer arrived within two minutes of threat being made wearing a helmet and he had a gun. He was asked to remove his helmet. He refused. He then stated that it wasnt him who had made the threat and that it was a different officer from the station. Internal investigations were coplained to and upheld this version of events. They were counseled by their superior officer and that was it.The officers that were involved have since been promoted.

I still have their own report that internal Investigations issued.

Dont tell me that there is only good cops in Canberra because I could give a long, long list of them that are nothing but self serving thugs. ( and thats putting it nicely)

Report this comment

15
jcitizen 9:10 pm
09 Dec 11
#

Tooks said :

Mental Health Worker said :

“If a person believes they have been arrested unlawfully, the issue can be quickly and properly remedied when the person is brought before a magistrate. This would ordinarily happen within hours.”

In Canberra? Get real, Corbell. “within hours” means the next court day, which can be more than 36 hours, especially on long weekends. Your day in court may well follow an unpleasant night or two in the Watchhouse (hopefully without being sprayed with capsicum foam for fun, as used to happen in the WH) and possibly even in the AMC, mixing with hardened criminals. (Police no longer keep arrestees for more than 36 hours, so on weekends they hand some over to the AMC.)

And the chances of a complex question like this being “remedied” on the first court appearance is pretty slim, especially as you’re locked up unable to prepare your case, so expect your name to be sullied, you may lose your job due to absence (while in custody) or the damage to reputation, while you to try to mount your defence. Plus the cost of defending the charges.

“Arrest” may sound anodyne, but it involves the deprivation of liberty, which if you or I commit it, is a serious and violent offence, but apparently the cops can do it when they like, and you can’t resist if it’s unjustified.

Corbell claimed on ABC yesterday morning that there are no dodgy police officers, which is so patently impossible (what are they, robots?) and has been shown in the past to be untrue, that you have to wonder what his motives are – he’s clearly trying to butter up the AFP for some reason.

MHW

You really are absolutely clueless, aren’t you?

He has more of an idea than you.

Report this comment

1 2 3 5

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2016 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Search across the site