It is likely that you have experienced a transport officer asking to check your Opal Card or concession card. This is routine and transport officers have the lawful power to do so. There are, however, instances where a transport officer may behave in an excessive manner that goes beyond their lawful powers. If this happens to you then you might have a successful civil claim against them.
What are transport officers allowed to do?
Transport officers have very limited powers. They can request you to present your ticket and concession card for inspection, and direct you to leave the station and trains. They can also demand your full name and residential address when they suspect on reasonable grounds that a person has committed a railway offence.
Can a transport officer arrest you?
The only form of arrest that a transport officer can make is a ‘citizen’s arrest’ which is granted to all persons in New South Wales. A citizen’s arrest can only be made against a person who has committed an offence. In this instance, the person making the citizen’s arrest may use reasonable force to arrest or to prevent the escape of the person after arrest. They must transfer the person into police custody after making the arrest. The onus is on the person making the citizen’s arrest to prove that the arrested person had committed an offence.
When can you sue a transport officer?
If a transport officer uses force against you in a situation where you have not done anything wrong, you can make a civil claim against Transport for NSW for assault, battery and unlawful arrest.
Our civil solicitor, Deo Indevar, recently represented a client who successfully sued Transport for NSW for the unlawful actions of a transport officer. The client was at Central Station when he was told to leave the station despite not doing anything wrong. The officer then grabbed the client, patted him, assaulted him and handcuffed him. The officer called the police and alleged that our client was behaving offensively. Video footage obtained by the police clearly showed that the transport officer’s claims were false. O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors successfully assisted the client in suing Transport for NSW and NSW Police for assault, battery and false imprisonment. The case was settled and the client received compensation.
Contact O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
If you think that you have been mistreated by a transport officer and want to make a civil claim against Transport for NSW, contact O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors to discuss your legal options. Call us on (02) 9261 4281 to book a free initial consultation with our civil solicitor.