Section 60 Crimes Act 1900 | Assault Police


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Section 60 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with assaults committed against police officers.

While the law treats these offences very seriously, an experienced criminal lawyer can help you fight the charges and avoid a conviction.

Each of the offences in relation to assaulting police officers is discussed below.

Assaulting a police officer

Section 60(1) says that it’s an offence to assault, throw a missile at, stalk, harass or intimidate a police officer while they are carrying out their work duties.

An assault is where you act in a way that causes another person to fear ‘unlawful personal violence.’

This can involve making threats towards someone or touching another person without their permission and in a manner that causes them to fear for their personal safety.

These types of assaults frequently occur when you are being arrested and you touch or threaten a police officer.

The maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment, however you could face harsher maximum penalties where the assault causes the police officer to suffer ‘actual bodily harm.’

‘Actual bodily harm’ means some kind of injury that is more than merely ‘transient or trifling,’ such as bruises or scratches, or serious psychological injuries such as anxiety and depression. In these cases, the maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment.

However these are maximum penalties and only apply in the most serious assault police cases.

Assaulting a police officer during a public disorder

Section 60(1A) deals with situations where you assault a police officer while they are carrying out their work duties during a ‘public disorder.’

A public disorder is any kind of civil disturbance that poses a risk to public safety, such as a riot or violent protest.

The maximum penalty for assaulting a police officer during a public disorder is 7 years imprisonment. However, if the police officer suffers ‘actual bodily harm,’ the maximum penalty is 9 years imprisonment.

However, these are maximum penalties and only apply in the most serious assault cases.

Reckless wounding a police officer or causing grievous bodily harm

Section 60(3) says that it is an offence to recklessly wound or inflict grievous bodily harm upon a police officer.

This refers to situations where you knew, or should have known that your actions could result in wounding or grievous bodily harm, but you acted anyway.

A wound is generally defined as an injury that results when both layers of the skin are broken; for example, a deep cut or a split lip.

Grievous bodily harm is defined as ‘really serious harm’ – including permanent and serious disfigurement. Examples include broken bones and damage to internal organs.

The maximum penalty in these cases is 12 years imprisonment, however this is the maximum penalty and will only apply in the most serious assault cases.

Recklessly wounding a police officer or causing grievous bodily harm during a public disorder

Section 60(3A) says that if you recklessly wound or inflict grievous bodily harm on a police officer during a public disorder, you could face a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

However, this is a maximum penalty, which means that it will only apply in the most serious cases.

The Legislation

Section 60 of the Crimes Act deals with assaults against police officers and reads as follows:

60 Assault and other actions against police officers

(1) A person who assaults, throws a missile at, stalks, harasses or intimidates 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.

(1A) A person who, during a public disorder, assaults, throws a missile at, stalks, harasses or intimidates 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 7 years.

(2) A person who assaults 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.

(2A) A person who, during a public disorder, assaults 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 9 years.

(3) A person who recklessly by any means:

(a) wounds a police officer, or

(b) inflicts grievous bodily harm on a police officer,

while in the execution of the officer’s duty is liable to imprisonment for 12 years.

(3A) A person who, recklessly by any means, and during a public disorder:

(a) wounds a police officer, or

(b) inflicts grievous bodily harm on a police officer,

while in the execution of the officer’s duty is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

(4) For the purposes of this section, an action is taken to be carried out in relation to a police officer while in the execution of the officer’s duty, even though the police 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 police officer in the execution of the officer’s duty, or

(b) because the officer is a police officer.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

If you have been charged with assaulting a police officer, it’s important to seek advice from an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible.

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, we have considerable experience fighting “assault police” matters and we can advise you of your options when it comes to securing a positive outcome in your case.

We frequently win cases by finding problems with the prosecution case and asking to have the charges dropped on this basis, or proving that our clients had a good reason for their actions – such as where they were acting in self-defence.

Should your matter proceed to court, we guarantee that you will be represented by one of our highly respected senior lawyers – knowledgeable experts who have outstanding advocacy skills.

Alternatively, if you wish to plead guilty, we can help you avoid harsh penalties by presenting all evidence in a compelling manner and persuading the magistrate or judge to deal with the matter leniently.

We will also push to have the matter heard in the Local Court, where the maximum penalties are much lower.

So, if you want the best possible result in your ‘assault police’ matter, call us today on
(02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference
to discuss your case with one of our expert defence lawyers.