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No more self defence when assaulting a police officer

By 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.

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72 Responses to No more self defence when assaulting a police officer
#1
LSWCHP7:17 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…

#2
Mental Health Worker6:50 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

#3
colourful sydney rac8:08 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.

#4
Thumper9:11 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.

#5
whitelaughter9:17 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.

#6
P Taker11:14 am, 09 Dec 11

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

#7
p112:35 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….”

#8
Tooks4:44 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?

#9
TheObserver5:08 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.

#10
Mental Health Worker7:20 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

#11
Jethro9:03 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.

#12
dpm9:05 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….!

#13
dpm9:07 pm, 09 Dec 11

Sorry, that should be S.C (Simon Corbell), not C.S! :-P

#14
jcitizen9:08 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)

#15
jcitizen9:10 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.

#16
jcitizen9:11 pm, 09 Dec 11

TheObserver said :

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.

Bloody well said !!

#17
jcitizen9:16 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

The same people attacking the man not playing the ball all over this web site. Narrow minded bully types (thugs). They are all in bed with each other ,I say.

#18
LSWCHP10:04 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?

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

I read your post several times. To say that assaulting a police officer is “never to be recommended” is very provocative phrasing, to say the least. Assaulting a police officer is something that simply shouldn’t and wouldn’t be considered by any reasonable person, and I wasn’t surprised by the heated responses.

The vibe I got from reading your post was that you feel cops are out there doing the wrong thing all the time, arresting innocent people left, right and centre and that as a result of this, biffing arresting police officers is a viable alternative that people should consider when being placed under arrest.

Maybe that wasn’t what you intended, but that’s the message I got, and I didn’t think it was a particularly thrilling message.

I’m sure there are cases where people are arrested without justification, but I would think that the numbers of those cases would be vanishingly small. If unjustified arrests are happening all the time, why isn’t the news appearing in the CT, local ABC and RiotAct? Where are the false arrest lawsuits? Where are the compensation claims? Where are the people who’ve lost their jobs as a result of being unjustly arrested? I would’ve thought they’d be complaining to anybody who will listen.

I don’t believe that the tsunami of bad busts that you’ve implied is actually happening, and therefore the “defend your rights by punching the arresting officer” option that you are proposing is simply not valid.

#19
KeenGolfer7:18 am, 10 Dec 11

jcitizen, the ridiculously outrageous claims you have made in this and the other thread make me think you forgot to take your meds last night.

#20
fgzk9:12 am, 10 Dec 11

MHW “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.”

The AFP Police Association wants to drug test Judges, lawyers and politicians. Everyone seems to be over indulging in self interest these days. Id suggest Corbell has been buttered up to screw the rest of us.

#21
jcitizen11:47 am, 10 Dec 11

KeenGolfer said :

jcitizen, the ridiculously outrageous claims you have made in this and the other thread make me think you forgot to take your meds last night.

Hey Keen Golfer
If they are so ridiculous , then why have i got the paperwork to prove it?
Problem is I couldnt at the time find a Canberra solicitor who had big enough balls to take it on.
They all seemed to be “keen golfers” too.You know part of the inner circle. Even though i have their own reports, the solicitors I saw for one reason or another wouldnt touch it. Doesnt mean its not true mate.

Unlike a lot of people here, Im not medicated, and I dont play Golf.

#22
Tooks11:52 am, 10 Dec 11

jcitizen said :

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.

You are both nut bags. Your post at #14 shows all the signs of a paranoid schizophrenic. Take your meds. As for the other goose, I could dissect his entire post, but I’ll pick out a couple of the stupider comments he made:

In Canberra? Get real, Corbell. “within hours” means the next court day, which can be more than 36 hours, especially on long weekends.

No, it doesn’t necessarily mean the next court day. Offenders are frequently brought before court the same day they are arrested. Sometimes in a matter of 2-4 hours.

hopefully without being sprayed with capsicum foam for fun

When was fun ever used as a reason? Looked through the judgement (Birch) and couldn’t find the word fun in it. Not even the DPP tried to claim that ‘fun’ was a reason for the assaults.

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.

1) you don’t know what anodyne means. 2) You have no idea. A citizen can lawfully arrest someone under the Crimes Act 1900. This comment alone shows you have no idea what you’re talking about.
3) Cops can not arrest when they like. They can arrest when they are justified by law to do so.

If you want to make stupid ill-informed comments, then don’t cry foul when you’re picked up on it.

#23
fgzk12:59 pm, 10 Dec 11

“Cops can not arrest when they like. They can arrest when they are justified by law to do so.”

But if they do, its the Judge that will have to decide. So what happens after the judge has decided that it wasn’t a lawful arrest?
Will this law bring back an emphasis on police clearly identifying who they are?
Does it also apply to the “secret police”, you know the ones we can’t identify?

#24
Tooks1:24 pm, 10 Dec 11

fgzk said :

“Cops can not arrest when they like. They can arrest when they are justified by law to do so.”

But if they do, its the Judge that will have to decide. So what happens after the judge has decided that it wasn’t a lawful arrest?
Will this law bring back an emphasis on police clearly identifying who they are?
Does it also apply to the “secret police”, you know the ones we can’t identify?

If it wasn’t a lawful arrest, then you’d probably be off the hook and have costs awarded.

What are secret police?

#25
fgzk2:10 pm, 10 Dec 11

You know, the ones that cant be identified.

I take it by “costs” you mean court costs. What happens to the police?

#26
buzz8192:10 pm, 10 Dec 11

Tooks said :

fgzk said :

“Cops can not arrest when they like. They can arrest when they are justified by law to do so.”

But if they do, its the Judge that will have to decide. So what happens after the judge has decided that it wasn’t a lawful arrest?
Will this law bring back an emphasis on police clearly identifying who they are?
Does it also apply to the “secret police”, you know the ones we can’t identify?

If it wasn’t a lawful arrest, then you’d probably be off the hook and have costs awarded.

What are secret police?

Clearly the AFP employs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestapo

#27
Tooks3:16 pm, 10 Dec 11

fgzk said :

You know, the ones that cant be identified.

I take it by “costs” you mean court costs. What happens to the police?

Which police don’t identify themselves when they arrest you?

Re your other question. If police have acted in good faith and the magistrate or judge finds the arrest was unlawful, nothing will happen to them.

#28
fgzk7:29 am, 11 Dec 11

So when confronted with overwhelming force to gain compliance, civilians will have to resist the fight or flight reaction. Will there be a training course for the civilian population to overcome natural reactions?

How about when the police have removed their number from their uniform and charge on mass? Does that count as clearly identified?

People here keep referring to “taking a swing”. But that is not really the case, is it. You can just struggle or resit to get charged with assault. You don’t have to strike.

#29
fgzk8:47 am, 11 Dec 11

What about the stats on this one. How many people were charged with assault of a “government officer “in the last ten years? How many of them successfully argued self defense? Are we talking 100′s or tens, or a couple of.

#30
Tooks9:25 am, 11 Dec 11

fgzk said :

So when confronted with overwhelming force to gain compliance, civilians will have to resist the fight or flight reaction. Will there be a training course for the civilian population to overcome natural reactions?

How about when the police have removed their number from their uniform and charge on mass? Does that count as clearly identified?

People here keep referring to “taking a swing”. But that is not really the case, is it. You can just struggle or resit to get charged with assault. You don’t have to strike.

Sorry, for a moment I thought you wanted to have a serious discussion. Now I can see you are just trolling, as your questions are absolutely ridiculous and I won’t waste any more of my time responding to you.

You are now on the blacklist. Congratulations. I’ll leave you with the advice to grow up and leave serious discussion to the adults.

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