Sonia Hickey

About Sonia Hickey

Sonia Hickey is a freelance writer, magazine journalist and owner of “Woman with Words”. She has a strong interest in social justice and is a member of the Sydney Criminal Lawyers content team.

NSW police officer facing multiple charges of assault while on duty

In yet another example of heavy-handed policing, a senior NSW police officer is facing numerous assault charges.

 

 

Another senior NSW police officer is facing court accused of multiple assault offences while on duty.

He has been charged with two counts of common assault and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, in relation to an incident which occurred while he was on duty in December 2018.

While details of the incident have not been released, the officer has been suspended on full pay and is scheduled to appear before Dubbo Local Court in January 2020.

His name has been withheld by the NSW Police Force.

 

This latest case is part of an alarming trend of New South Wales of police officers either threatening or physically engaging unnecessarily or inappropriately with members of the public

 

Assault charges are differentiated by a number of factors, including whether the act was done ‘recklessly’ or ‘intentionally’, and the extent of any injury caused.

‘Common assault’ is an offence under section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which can occur without any touching at all; it is enough to cause another person to fear immediate and violence. Examples may include raising a fist at another in anger, or threatening to hurt or kill them in their immediate presence.

The maximum penalty for common assault is two years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500.

If injuries are more serious, another assault charge will be more appropriate; such as assault occasioning actual bodily harm, reckless wounding or causing grievous bodily harm, or intentional wounding or causing grievous bodily harm.

Assault occasioning actual bodily harm is an offence under section 59 of the Act which carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, or seven years if committed in the company of at least one other person.

 


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This latest case is part of an alarming trend of New South Wales of police officers either threatening or physically engaging unnecessarily or inappropriately with members of the public, depicting a policing culture that appears to thrive on bullying and intimidation to get the job done.

Reported figures showed that between October 2016 and December 2018 dozens of New South Wales police officers had been charged with offences ranging from reckless damage and common assault through to child sex offences, as well as stalking and intimidation, assault occasioning bodily harm, choking, and sexual assault.

While some of these incidents occurred while officers were ‘off duty’, many offences also occured while offices were on duty, despite the fact that officers undergo extensive training which prepares them to deal with a large range of personalities, situations and occurrences, at the end of which they take an oath to uphold the law, not to break it.

This year alone, Sydney Criminal Lawyers has reported on several officers who have been charged with serious offences. And while they may not be indicative of all police officers, they are part of a worrying trend in which aggressive interactions with police and members of the public are becoming the ‘norm.’

One former policeman was charged with using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend after sharing intimate images of a woman he arrested. Another former NSW officer is now spending time behind bars after using his position to blackmail women into sex.

Another has been charged with assault after brutally bashing a naked teenager in Byron Bay. A probationary constable from Sydney has also been charged with sexual assault offences after being accused of groping and rape.

And these are only a small handful. Many more instances involving police misconduct are not reported. Many are not adequately investigated, some remain unpunished, and many more stories are kept under wraps by the police force.

 

 

 

 

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