Women’s offensive behaviour and remarks withdrawn as Undercover NSW Police breach LEPRA

Background: What Happened

Lara* was walking down the road with a friend when they walked past an undercover police car, parked on the sidewalk. At this stage, Lara was unaware that it was a police car, and was under the impression that the car belonged to someone from the public. She told them “If you stay there, you’ll get fined by coppers”. Police allege that Lara said, “fuck off you mutts”.

The police officers then got out of the car and followed her whilst in plain clothes. They called out her name, told her to stop walking. When she kept walking, the officer approached her, flicked the cigarette out of her mouth and violently arrested her.

One officer said, “I’ll take you out bush” and “Is this really a girl? I want to punch her in the face”.

They put her in the paddy wagon and took her back to the station where she was processed.

Lara was charged with:

  • Offensive behaviour
  • Assault and
  • Resist arrest

At the hearing, our solicitors had the assault and resist arrest charge withdrawn, and the magistrate dismissed the offensive behaviour charge.

Issues

We argued that Lara was falsely imprisoned by the police officers, their actions being in breach of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002.

The Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (LEPRA) is a NSW piece of legislation which governs the exercise of specific police powers.

Decision

We argued with representatives for the State of NSW, and Lara was awarded a favourable sum of compensation, as well as having the cost of her legal matter paid for.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of our clients

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

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