Client who admitted to Possession of Illicit Substance Found Not Guilty due to Police misusing power

Police officers arrest man for drug possession

Two NSW Police Officers patrolled their area of command in North Western NSW, as a part of proactive policing duties. Prior to beginning their patrol, they visited Baradine Police Station and spoke to the lock-up keeper. The officer identified Joseph* as an offender.

During the officer’s patrol, they observed Joseph walking down the street. Then, they both approached him and advised him would search him. Joseph told the officers that he possessed an illicit substance. They then charged him with possession of a prohibited drug.

Successful Voir Dire Application

However, he got a verdict of not guilty on voir dire application to the court. A voir dire application is a pre-trial procedure that the Court uses to determine the admissibility of evidence. It occurs when one party challenges the admissibility of evidence that the other side wishes to present.

Misuse of Police powers

We made an Assault and Battery and False Imprisonment claim. This was on the basis that the officers did not have reasonable grounds to suspect that Joseph had a prohibited drug. Also, that they continued detention for the purpose of a search.  This is contrary to s 21 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2022.

Joseph filed the claim for Assault and Battery and False Imprisonment in the civil jurisdiction of the NSW District Court.

We negotiated with the representatives for the State of NSW, where Joseph won a favourable sum of compensation and his legal costs were covered.

*We have changed names 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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