Police use breach of the peace when they answer a call due to an argument between our client and his partner

Police use breach of the peace to dispose of domestic disagreements

In this case study Campbelltown Local Area Command police use breach of the peace charges to dispose of domestic argument cases.

James* had a verbal argument with his partner in South West Sydney, and both she and their neighbour called the police. Police arrived at the scene and spoke to James’ partner for five minutes. In this discussion with police, she did not disclose any offences. 

One officer went to James and shoved him into a bedroom, and detained him there while the other officer spoke to his partner. The arresting officer then arrested James for breach of the peace but didn’t tell him this until after he was detained. Then, the police drove him in a police van for 20 mins and released him at a railway station. However, they did not charge him or issue him with an apprehended domestic violence order

We file a claim for assault, battery, and false imprisonment in the district court of New South Wales. 

This matter proceeded to trial where the Defendant’s case collapsed. This was because every officer involved gave contradicting evidence both to each other, and to the filed defence. 

We discovered that the Campbelltown Local Area Command routinely uses “breach of the peace” as an easy way to deal with verbal arguments where they have no other power to remove a person. They use this charge even where there is no anticipated breach of the peace. Ultimately, this breaches the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002. 

After the evidence giving closed, the Defendants settled the case, prior to reaching judgement. 

James got a favourable sum of compensation. As well the Defendant paid the cost of his legal affair.

*Names are changed for client confidentiality 


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O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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