Unjustified Arrest Following a Neighborhood Dispute


Jane was in her yard, saying goodbye to her children as they prepared to leave for school with their grandmother. An unexpected turn of events took place when a woman, walking by with her child began verbally confronting Jane and her family. Though Jane’s response was to simply ask the woman to leave, the confrontation escalated. The woman, while recording the incident with her child close by, inadvertently backed into a telegraph pole. The impact left her child in tears. Little did Jane know that this would lead to her unjustified arrest.

30 minutes after this incident, the woman called the police, accusing Jane of making threats. However, by the time officers arrived around 90 minutes later, the woman’s story evolved, now claiming Jane had physically pushed her, leading to the child’s mishap against a nearby fence.

Police Response:

The police, upon reaching Jane’s residence and finding her absent made a phone call around 1pm (roughly 3 hours post-incident) asking her to report to the station. Complying immediately, Jane met with an arrest and a subsequent three-hour detainment before charges were officially made and she was subsequently released. However, these charges never reached a hearing as the prosecution dropped them beforehand.

Legal Action over the Unjustified Arrest:

Jane pursued a lawsuit against the NSW Police for false imprisonment, assault and battery. The foundation of her case was on s99(1)(b), emphasising the arresting officer’s lack of reasonable justification for her arrest.

This included:

  1. The knowledge that the altercation occurred in Jane’s yard and the complainant had since departed.
  2. Jane’s clean criminal record.
  3. The significant time-lapse between the incident and the arrest.
  4. Jane’s immediate compliance in reporting to the station once contacted.
  5. Initial allegations were merely of threats, with the physical altercation claim emerging later.
  6. Recognising the alleged offence’s minor nature, involving a claimed shove.


In conclusion, Jane won an award of $5,000 in compensation. Additionally, legal costs amounted to $15,000 inclusive.

*We change names in order to maintain client confidentiality


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

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