In Queensland, assault on a police officer, corrective services officer or public officer, is taken very seriously, as it involves a direct attack or threat against a law enforcement officer in the performance of their duties. Assaulting a police officer can lead to severe penalties under Queensland law.
What is assault on police officer?
In Queensland, the definition of assault on a police officer is outlined in Section 340 of the Queensland Criminal Code. The section encompasses various forms of assault against a police officer.
The act of assault can involve intentionally striking, touching, or applying force to a police officer without their consent. This includes actions such as punching, kicking, slapping, pushing, or spitting on a police officer.
The specific circumstances of the case, the nature of the alleged assault, and the evidence presented will determine whether an act constitutes an assault on a police officer in accordance with the legal definition provided in the Queensland Criminal Code.
What do the police have to prove?
In Queensland, for a criminal charge of assault on a police officer to be proven, the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Identity of the accused: The prosecution must prove that the accused is the person who committed the assault on the police officer. This can be done through witness testimony, video evidence, or other forms of identification.
- The defendant assaulted the complainant. A person who strikes or otherwise applies force of any kind to the person of another without the other person’s consent is said to have assaulted that person;
- That the complainant was a police officer;
- That the complainant was then acting in the due execution of his duty.
What are the penalties for assault on police officer?
Penalties for assault on a police officer in Queensland can vary depending on the circumstances and the level of harm caused. Generally, the offence is considered a serious matter, and the penalties can be quite severe. The maximum penalty for assault causing bodily harm to a police officer is 14 years of imprisonment. If the assault causes grievous bodily harm, the maximum penalty increases to 25 years of imprisonment.
It’s important to note that penalties can vary depending on factors such as the defendant’s criminal history, the degree of harm inflicted, and whether the assault was premeditated or spontaneous.
What are the defences to assault on police officer?
In Queensland, there are various legal defences that can be raised in cases involving assault on a police officer. It’s important to note that the availability and success of these defences can depend on the specific circumstances of the case. Here are some potential legal defences:
- Self-defence or defence of another
- Mistaken identity
- Officer was not acting in the course of his or her duties
- The assault is trivial and not of a serious nature
Please note that it is not a defence that the defendant did not know the person assaulted was a police officer.