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Section 87ZA Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002
Contravening a Public Safety Order

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Contravening a public safety order is an offence under section 87ZA of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 that carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You were a person to whom a public safety order applied, and
  2. You contravened the order.

A public safety order is an order made by a senior police officer that prohibits a specified person, or persons belonging to a specified class of persons, from:

  1. Attending a specified public event, including entering or being present at premises being used in connection with the event, and
  2. Entering or being present at specified premises or another specified area at any time during a specified period.

A ‘senior police officer is defined as a police area commander, police district commander, duty officer for a police station or any officer of the rank of inspector or above.

An officer may make a public safety order if satisfied that:

  1. The presence of the person or class of persons at the public event, premises or other area poses a serious risk to public safety or security, and
  2. The making of the order is reasonably necessary in the circumstances.

In determining whether the order is reasonably necessary, the officer must take into account:

1.  Whether the person or persons to whom the order will apply previously behaved in a way that posed a serious risk to public safety or security or have a history of engaging in serious crime related activity within the meaning of the Criminal Assets Recovery Act 1990,

2. Whether the person or persons to whom the order will apply:

(a) Are, or have been, members of a declared organisation (within the meaning of the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012, 

(b) Are, or have been, subject to control orders under that Act, or

(c) Associate, or have associated, with members of a declared organisation or persons subject to control orders within the meaning of that Act,

3. If advocacy, protest, dissent or industrial action is likely to be the primary purpose for the person or persons to whom the order will apply being present at the relevant public event or premises or other area–the public interest in maintaining freedom to participate in such activities,

4. Whether the person or persons to whom the order will apply will be prevented from being present at any of the following–

(a) A place of work at which the person or persons are regularly employed,

(b) An educational institution attended by the person or persons,

(c) A place of worship attended by the person or persons,

(d) A place at which the person or persons receive a health service or welfare service,

(e) A place at which the person or persons are provided with legal services by any Australian legal practitioners or by any organisations employing or otherwise using one or more Australian legal practitioners to provide such services,

5. Whether the degree of risk involved justifies the imposition of the prohibitions to be specified in the order having regard to any legitimate reason the person or persons to whom the order will apply may have for being present at the relevant event or premises or other area,

6. The extent to which the making of the order will mitigate any risk to public safety or security, and

7. The extent to which the order is necessary having regard to other measures reasonably available to mitigate the risk.

There is a ‘serious risk to public safety’ if there is a serious risk the presence of the person or persons might result in death or serious physical harm to a person or in serious property damage.

An officer must not make a public safety order that would prohibit a person or class of persons from being present at any public event or premises or other area if:

1. the officer believes that non-violent advocacy, protest or dissent is likely to be the primary purpose for their presence at the public event or premises or other area, or

2. the officer believes that industrial action is likely to be the primary purpose for their presence at the public event or premises or other area, or

3. the order would prevent them from entering their principal places of residence.

A public safety order must specify:

1. The public event or premises or other area to which it applies, 

2. The person or class of persons to which it applies, 

3. That a contravention of the order may constitute an offence that carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 5 years, 

4. In the case of an order that applies to premises or another area other than in connection with a public event, the period, not exceeding 72 hours, during which the order will be in force,

5. In the case of an order that applies to a public event:

(a) The location or locations in which the event is being held for the purposes of the order, 

(b) If the event is held over consecutive days, when the event is taken to start and finish for the purposes of the order, and

(c) if the public event is held over non-consecutive days, when the event is taken to start and finish for the purposes of the order for each of the days it is held – being a combined period that does not exceed 72 hours in total.

A decision of an officer to make a public safety order that exceeds the 72 hour limited is appellable to the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

General legal defences to the offence of contravening a public safety order include duress, necessity and self-defence.

If you are able to raise evidence of a general legal defence, the onus then shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defence does not apply to the circumstances of the case.

You are entitled to an acquittal if the prosecution is unable to do this.

If you are going to court over allegations of contravening a public safety order, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers® today on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with one of our experienced, specialist criminal defence lawyers who will assess your case, advise you of your options and the best way forward, and fight for the optimal outcome.

The Legislation

Section 87ZA of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 is the offence of contravening a public safety order, and reads as follows:

87ZA Contravention of public safety order

A person to whom a public safety order applies must not contravene the order.

Maximum penalty–Imprisonment for 5 years.

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Fixed Fees

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD offices, 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 info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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