Assault Police (Tas)
In Tasmania, there is both a summary offence and an indictable offence of assault police. The summary offence is dealt with in the Magistrates Court. The indictable offence carries a longer maximum penalty and must be finalised in the Supreme Court. This page deals with assault police offences in Tasmania.
Indictable offence of assault police
Under section 114 of the Criminal Code 1924, a person commits a crime if they assault, resist or wilfully obstruct a police officer in the execution of his duty, or if they assault, resist or wilfully obstruct any other person lawfully assisting a police officer.
It is also offence under this provision to assault, resist or wilfully obstruct a person who is lawfully arresting a person.
The maximum penalty for either of these offences is 21 years imprisonment, which is the standard maximum penalty for indictable offences in Tasmania.
Summary offence of assault police
Under section 34B of the Police Offences Act 1935, a person commits an offence if they:
- Assault, resist or wilfully obstruct a police officer in the execution of his duty,
- Assault, resist or wilfully obstruct a person assisting a police officer in the execution of his duty;
- Assault, resist or wilfully obstruct a person lawfully arresting a person.
It is also an offence under this section to:
- threaten, intimidate, or use abusive language to a police officer in the execution of his duty or to someone assisting a police officer;
- to instigate or incite another person to commit an offence under this provision.
This offence is punishable by a maximum of three years imprisonment or a fine of 100 penalty units.
Pleading guilty to an indictable offence
When a person is charged with the indictable offence of assault police, the matter must be finalised in the Supreme Court. The matter will go through a number of procedural stages in the Magistrates Court (or Children’s Court if the accused is under 18) before it can be committed to the higher court for finalisation.
The prosecution will need to supply the defence with a brief of evidence. The evidence against the accused will then have to be tested during a committal procedure. If there is sufficient evidence to support a conviction, the matter will be committed to the Supreme Court. If there is insufficient evidence, it will be dismissed.
If the accused pleads guilty in the Supreme Court, they will be sentenced based on:
- The objective seriousness of the offence including its impact on the victim;
- Their personal circumstances;
- Their criminal history.
Pleading guilty to a summary offence
If a person is charged with the summary offence of assault police, the matter will be finalized in the Magistrates Court (or Children’s Court if they are under 18).
Before pleading guilty to any offence, a person should ensure they are fully aware of:
- The elements of the offence
- The alleged facts
- The maximum penalty and the likely penalty range in their circumstances;
- Any available defences.
Pleading not guilty to assault police
A person charged with an assault police offence may have a legal or a factual defence. Possible defences include:
- That the alleged act was not committed;
- That the accused was not the person who committed the alleged act;
- That the police officer was not acting in their lawful duties;
- That the accused was acting under compulsion;
- That the accused was mentally impaired at the time of the alleged offence.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.