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.
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 Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?
Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:
Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.
Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.
Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.
We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.
Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.
Highest Level of Client Satisfaction
We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.
Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.
We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.
We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.
Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm
We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.
The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.
We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.
We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.
Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.
Free First Appointment
For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.
We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.
Specialist Lawyer Guarantee
We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.
This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.
All NSW Courts
From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.
And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.
Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.
All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.
An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.
Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.
Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.
Results-Focused Law Firm
Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.
The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.
Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.
No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.
The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.
Team of Lawyers Behind You
Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.
Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.
A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.
In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.
Familiar with Magistrates and Judges
Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.
Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.
We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:
- the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
- Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
- Parramatta, near the justice precinct.
We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.
For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.
If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Charges including 2 Assault Charges, 3 Assault Police Charges and Drug Possession Dismissed
Our client is a 21 year old man living in north western Sydney.
He attended a night club in the Sydney CBD with friends on a Friday night and consumed both alcohol and cocaine.
Security asked him to leave the club due to his level of intoxication and he allegedly refused and pushed a security guard.
He allegedly continued a tirade of abuse outside the club when nearby police attended and intervened.
Our client allegedly began lashing out verbally and physically, and allegedly spat at police and security guards on multiple occasions.
He was arrested and a small amount of cocaine was found on him.
He was taken to the police station and charged with two counts of assault (against the security guards), three counts of assaulting police for allegedly striking and spitting at them, resisting arrest, possessing a prohibited drug, remaining at a licensed premises when excluded.
Our client was said to be uncontrollable and attempted to self-harm while in custody.
He was eventually released and saw us for advice.
Due to his actions, we referred him for a psychiatric assessment which found he was suffering from severe depression and anxiety. We obtained a report setting out his background, diagnosis and a treatment plan to assess his underlying issues.
We listed his case for an application under section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 for his charges to be dismissed on the basis that he has a mental condition and the matter is best dealt with through treatment by a mental health professional than under the general law.
The prosecution opposed the application essentially on the basis that the charges were too serious and numerous and that the diagnosed conditions could not be seen as an excuse for such conduct.
However, we made extensive submissions regarding the objectives of the legislation, the relevant case-law and how it is appropriate for the court to deal with our client by way of a treatment plan rather than convicting and sentencing him under the general law.
After answering a number of questions posed by the magistrate, he was ultimately convinced that it was indeed appropriate to deal with our client under section 32.
He therefore granted the order, which means our client does not have a criminal conviction or even a finding of guilt against him, but remains conviction-free provided he regularly sees his psychologist for 6 months for cognitive behavioural therapy, takes prescribed medication and sees his psychiatrist after 3 months.
This means there is a plan in place for our client to get the treatment he needs to avoid a reoccurrence of the conduct and to move forward with his life.
No Conviction for Resist Officer, Behave in Offensive Manner and Remain in Premises
Our client is a 36-year-old sales executive from Sydney’s Lower North Shore.
He had been drinking at a bar in Oxford Street following a work Christmas party.
He left and then attempted to re-enter the premises, but was denied entry by security staff due to his level of intoxication.
The guards alleged that he then became aggressive and attempted to force his way into the premises. They called police, who attended the bar and observed our client struggling with staff.
Police say that they heard our client using offensive language, and they took hold of his arm so that they could speak to him about his behaviour. Our client struggled with police and allegedly continued using offensive language.
He was taken back to the police station where he was charged with five offences: “use offensive language in public place”, “excluded person remain in vicinity of licensed premises”, “assault police officer in execution of duty”, “behave in offensive manner” and “resist officer in execution of duty”.
Our lawyers engaged in extensive charge negotiations with police and were able to have the charges of “assault officer in execution of duty” and “use offensive language in a public place” withdrawn.
Pleas of guilty were entered to the remaining charges, and compelling sentencing submissions were made to the court highlighting our client’s remorse, good character and the effect that a criminal record might have had on his current job and future employment prospects.
The Magistrate was ultimately persuaded to award him a ‘section 10’, which means that he avoids a criminal conviction altogether.
Dismissal for Assaulting Police
The Magistrate in Downing Centre Local Court granted section 10(1)(a) dismissals to our 27 year old client who was charged with 'assaulting police', 'resisting arrest', 'offensive conduct' and 'continuing intoxicated behaviour after move-on direction'.
The charges arose from an incident at Bayswater Road, Potts Point when our intoxicated client was swearing loudly at her partner and aggressively pursuing him along the footpath.
Police saw the incident and intervened. Our client then allegedly struck out at police, swore at them repeatedly, attempted to bite an officer's hand and physically resisted their repeated attempts to arrest and calm her down.
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® convinced police to withdraw the 'assault police' and 'continue intoxicated behaviour' charges.
Our client then pleaded guilty to 'resisting arrest' and 'offensive' conduct, and the Magistrate was persuaded to grant her 'section 10(1)(a) dismissals' - which means that she avoids a criminal conviction.
All Four Defendants Not Guilty of Assaulting Police at The Rocks
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® secured 'not guilty' verdicts in Downing Centre Local Court for four clients charged with 'affray' and 'assault occasioning actual bodily harm' against two off-duty police officers.
The officers, who had been drinking alcohol, saw one of our clients letting down a police car tyre at The Rocks, Sydney.
One of the officers then walked-up and kicked our client to the buttocks.
The officers claim to have announced that they were police officers and were placing our client under arrest.
Our clients then beat-up both of the officers, causing significant injuries and hospitalisation.
The hearing ran for 5 days and the prosecution tried to argue that:
- the officers were acting in execution of their duty, despite being off-duty and
- our clients did not act in self-defence.
However, the Presiding Magistrate found a reasonable possibility that our clients acted in self-defence and dismissed all charges.
No Conviction for Assault Police x 2; Resist Police and Offensive Conduct
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® obtained a section 10 (no criminal conviction) for our 34 year old Peruvian client who kicked, punched and scratched police near King Street Wharf, Sydney causing abrasions and scratching.
Police intervened in an argument between our client and a taxi driver before the incident occurred.
Our client is relieved to remain conviction-free because she intends to apply for permanent residency.
Best Defence in Local Court Assault and AVO Hearings
Over the past two-weeks, Sydney Criminal Lawyers® won all 7 of its Assault and AVO cases in various Local Courts.
Some cases involved charges of Assault Police, Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm and Stalk / Intimidate.
- What is ‘Excessive Force’ During an Arrest in NSW?
- The Offence of Tampering with Evidence in New South Wales
- NSW Police Officers Threaten to Break Man’s Legs During Unlawful Arrest
- When Can Police Arrest a Person Without a Warrant in NSW?
- The Law, Defences and Penalties for Assaulting Police in New South Wales