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Obstructing a Member of the Clergy

Obstructing a Member of the Clergy is an offence under Section 56 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.

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

You struck or ‘offer[ed] any violence to’ a member of the clergy or a minister while they were officiating in a place of divine worship or performing their duties in a lawful burial, at a burial place or about to do either of those things.

Alternatively, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

You used threats or force to prevent, or try to prevent, a member of the clergy, or a person authorised by a member of the clergy, from officiating in a place of divine worship or performing his or her duties in a lawful burial at a burial place.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Self-defence
  2. Duress
  3. Necessity, and
  4. Mental illness

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