It’s common knowledge that assaulting a police officer is an offence that could result in heavy penalties, but many people are unaware that you can also be charged for assaulting a “law enforcement officer.”
Though offences under section 60A are treated seriously by the courts, our criminal law specialists will make every effort to protect your rights and interests by advising you of the steps to take when defending the charges.
We guarantee that you will be represented by one of our expert senior lawyers at every court date – highly respected lawyers who have a proven track record of winning serious criminal cases.
Under section 60A, the term “law enforcement officer” is used broadly to refer to any of the below persons:
- ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) officers who perform investigative functions
- Police Integrity Commission officers
- The Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of the Police Integrity Commission
- The Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of the NSW Crime Commission
- Any member of the NSW Crime Commission who performs investigative duties or has confiscation functions
- The Commissioner of Corrective Services
- Governors of Correctional Centres, correctional officers and probation and parole officers
- Juvenile Justice Officers
- Crown Prosecutors and Acting Crown Prosecutors
- Lawyers employed by the Director of Public Prosecutions
- Sheriff’s officers
Section 60A of the Crimes Act says that if you assault, throw a missile at, stalk, harass or intimidate any one of these persons, you could face a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.
An assault under section 60A is defined as any intentional or reckless action which causes a law enforcement officer to fear immediate and unlawful personal violence.
If the assault results in “actual bodily harm” – that is, harm that is more than temporary, such as bruises or scratches, the maximum penalty is 7 years’ imprisonment.
Further, you could face a maximum penalty of 12 years’ imprisonment if you wound or inflict grievous bodily harm upon the law enforcement officer.
A wound is where both layers of the skin are broken; for example, a split lip or deep cut.
Grievous bodily harm is defined as “really serious harm” and includes injuries such as broken bones or permanent internal organ damage.
In every case, the prosecution must prove that the offence was committed while the law enforcement officer was working, or because of their role as a law enforcement officer (e.g. for revenge).
While these penalties may seem harsh, our experienced criminal lawyers can work with you to maximise your chances of escaping a conviction.
60A Assault and other actions against law enforcement officers (other than police officers)
(1) A person who assaults, throws a missile at, stalks, harasses or intimidates a law enforcement officer (other than a police officer) while in the execution of the officer’s duty, although no actual bodily harm is occasioned to the officer, is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.
(2) A person who assaults a law enforcement officer (other than a police officer) while in the execution of the officer’s duty, and by the assault occasions actual bodily harm, is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.
(3) A person who recklessly by any means:
(a) wounds a law enforcement officer (other than a police officer), or
(b) inflicts grievous bodily harm on a law enforcement officer (other than a police officer),while
in the execution of the officer’s duty is liable to imprisonment for 12 years.
(4) For the purposes of this section, an action is taken to be carried out in relation to a law enforcement officer while in the execution of the officer’s duty, even though the officer is not on duty at the time, if it is carried out:
(a) as a consequence of, or in retaliation for, actions undertaken by that officer in the execution of the officer’s duty, or
(b) because the officer is a law enforcement officer.
While most law enforcement officers act within their powers at all times, there are occasionally situations where they act beyond their powers.
Sadly, many clients come to us charged with an offence under section 60A after they have simply tried to defend themselves when a law enforcement officer has used excessive force in carrying out their duties.
In these types of cases, we can push to have the charges dropped by raising these issues with the prosecution at an early stage in proceedings.
Where the matter proceeds to court, our senior criminal lawyers will give you the best possible representation by raising any valid defences to the charges, such as self-defence.
We can also assist you in securing a favourable outcome where you simply wish to plead guilty; in these situations, our highly skilled lawyers will work hard to persuade the magistrate or judge to have the matter dealt with by way of a lenient penalty.
No matter what your circumstances are, our expert criminal defence team can assist you in obtaining the best possible result in your “assault law enforcement officer” case.
Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first appointment with us to discuss your case.