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Obstruction Of Commonwealth Public Officials

Potts Lawyers > Criminal Law  > Commonwealth Offences > Obstruction Of Commonwealth Public Officials

What the law says

Article

Sections 149.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code states:

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a) The person knows that another person is a public official; and

(b) The first mentioned person obstructs, hinders, intimidates or resists the official in the performance of the official’s functions; and

(c) The official is a Commonwealth public official; and

(d) The functions are functions as a Commonwealth public official.

(2) In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (1), it is not necessary to prove that the defendant knew:

(a) That the official was a Commonwealth public official; or

(b) That the functions were functions as a Commonwealth public official.

(3) For the purposes of this section, it is immaterial whether the defendant was aware that the public official was performing the official’s functions

(4) Section 15.3 (extended geographical jurisdiction-category C) applies to an offence against subsection (1)

(5) The definition of “duty” in section 130.1 does not apply in this section.

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.

  1. The accused knows that another person is a public official; and
  2. The first mentioned person obstructs, hinders, intimidates or resists the official in the performance of the official’s functions; and
  3. The official is a Commonwealth public official; and
  4. The functions are functions as a Commonwealth public official.

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.

Maximum penalty

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Obstruction of Commonwealth Public Officials is 2 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is Commonwealth Offence which means it is dealt with in the Magistrates Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. The accused did not know that another person is a public official; and
  2. The first mentioned person did not obstruct, hinder, intimidate or resist the official in the performance of the official’s functions; and
  3. The official was not a Commonwealth public official; and
  4. The functions were not functions as a Commonwealth public official.

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