Section 340(1)(b) of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) establishes the offence of assault against a police officer whilst the officer is acting in the execution of their duty. The maximum penalty for this offence is 7 years imprisonment. Where an offender bites or spits on a police officer, throws bodily fluids, causes bodily harm or is armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon the maximum penalty increases to 14 years imprisonment.
Recently, Samantha O’Connor appeared on behalf of her client before the Beenleigh Magistrates Court. Her client pleaded guilty to 4 offences, with the most serious offence being an offence of Serious Assault of a Police Officer Causing Bodily Harm. Her client committed an assault on a police officer whilst resisting arrest. She had been detained under the Mental Health Act and had kicked out at police in the course of being arrested connecting with an officer’s wrist. As a result of the assault, the officer had torn cartilage in her wrist.
Samantha’s client was extremely intoxicated at the time of the offending, she had a history of poor mental health which included a number of involuntary hospital admissions, was only 18 years old at the time and was the sole carer of a young child. Although she had no recollection of the incident, her client was very remorseful and had offered to pay compensation of $500 to the police officer injured as a result of her conduct.
The principles that a sentence of imprisonment should only be imposed as a last resort and a sentence that allows the offender to stay in the community is preferrable does not apply to an offence that involves the use of violence or resulted in physical harm to another person. Often when an adult offender with no prior criminal history is charged with this offence, they could expect that a period of actual custody may be imposed given the serious nature of the charge.
Ultimately, Samantha convinced the sentencing court to impose a period of Probation. Her client was sentenced to 18 months Probation and was ordered to pay $500 compensation to the police officer. Samantha also successfully argued that a conviction not be recorded against her client.
If you are interested in our criminal lawyers acting on your behalf, please call Samantha O’Connor on 3009 8452.
 Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) ss 9(2)(a)(2A)
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