What the law says about Assault on a Police Officer
Sections 340 (1) of the Criminal Code Queensland states:
Any person who
- assaults another with intent to commit a crime, or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful arrest or detention of himself or herself or of any other person; or
- assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs a police officer while acting in the execution of the officer’s duty, or any person acting in aid of a police officer while so acting: or
- unlawfully assaults. Resists, or obstructs, any person engaged in the lawful execution ofany process against any property, or any person acting in aid of a police officer while so acting; or
- assaults, resists, or obstructs, any person engaged in such lawful execution of process, or in making a lawful distress, with intent to rescue any property lawfully taken under such process or distress; or
- assaults any person on account of any act done by the person in the execution of any duty imposed on the person by law; or
- assaults any person in pursuance of any unlawful conspiracy respecting any manufacture, trade, business, or occupation or respecting any person or persons concerned or employed in any manufacture, trade, business or occupation, or the wages of any such person or persons;
- assaults any person who is 60 years or more; or assaults any person who relies on a guide dog, wheelchair or other remedial device;
is guilty of a crime.
There are also offences of hindering or obstructing a Police officer in the execution of duty under the Police Powers and Responsibility Act. Often this offence is constituted by the act of spitting on or biting a Police Officer.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.
- The accused assaulted the complainant; Any person who strikes, touches or moves or otherwise applies force of any kind to the person of another, either directly or indirectly, without the person’s consent is said to assault that other person.
- The complainant was a police officer;
- The complainant was then acting in the due execution of his duty.
It is not a defence that the defendant did not know the person assaulted was a police officer.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.
The Maximum penalty for the offence of Assault on Police Officer In Execution Of His Duty (Serious Assault) is 7 years imprisonment.
Which court will hear the matter
This matter is indictable which is dealt with in the District Court.
Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to
- Self Defence
- Identification -ie Not the accused person
- Defence of another person
- Officer was not acting in the course of his or her duties.
- Complainant was not a Police Officer
- The assault is trivial and not of a serious nature.