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Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by Peter smith, 8 June 2014.
Hi. What is the legal definition of false arrest?
Who arrested you, and what were you charged with?
Which State are you located in?
Hi Amanda, I'm in Qld and was arrested by a local
Police officer. On Fri. I was at home having a few drinks. At about 11 pm I insisted that my 8 yo son go to bed and took the TV remote from him and turned off the TV. I put him in bed whereupon he said to me "Dad, you're being naughty and I'm going to tell the police on you". So I smiled to myself and went and got the phone for him. To my horror he promptly dialled 000. Shocked, I took the phone from him and hung up. My son then complained bitterly to me so I proceeded to hand him the phone again to teach him a lesson warning him that making a frivolous call to emergency services was against the law and that he may be the one getting into trouble. I then watched him make the call and when he finished telling to man that his Dad was being mean to him I took the phone apologised to the operator and that I hoped to teach him a lesson about emergency phone calls. I hung the phone up and gave my son a stern explanation of why he was wrong to do that. Within 15 min. My Son was safely tucked away in bed and sound asleep. I poured myself another glass of wine continued surfing the internet. 45 minutes later two police officers turned up and entered my home. I woke up my sleeping wife and son and said something like now see what you've done". One officer started to speak to my son and the other directed me outside, then straight up the garden path and out the gate over to the police van. Standing behind me, he me by the wrist and said,"I am now directing you to place your hands behind your back." I raised my hands above my head, turned to my left, and began to say "Hey, what do you think you're doing." By which time I found myself face planted on the road. The officer having said "I'm arresting you for obstructing a police officer in the course of his duties." There's a lot more that transpired later but that's the gist of the arrest.
So were you ultimately charged with something?
Yes, failed to comply with a requirement and obstructed a
police office (sic) in the course of duties. This was on the original handwritten notice to appear written by the arresting officer. Attatched to the
bail undertaking documents was the charge list page stating - charge 1 of 1 commit public nuisance. Does this mean 3 charges or just one?
I suppose that I have surmised that this is an excellent learning tool for up and coming students of Law to hone their skills on real cases that unlearned people like me submit to the forum. Hopefully, students are able to use examples from real life - self submitted examples from the public that you may thoughtfully provide useful and lawful advise. This is a real case extant in the system and I have found it useful. Thank you for your contributions so far. As a layman Ilook forward to further top notch legal advise ( y,know) from this site
If you only have 1 charge of 1 - committing public nuisance - on your official charge list, then you’ve only been charged with one offence.
Relevant to the facts you’ve mentioned, here is an informative excerpt from Caxton Legal Centre Inc. The Queensland Law Handbook 12:
A person commits a public nuisance offence (s6 of the Summary Offences Act Qld) if:
they behave in a disorderly, threatening, violent or offensive way (s6(3))
their behaviour interferes, or is likely to interfere, with the peaceful passage through, or the enjoyment of, a public place by a member of the public.
It is important to note that
police must prove two facts to make out a public nuisance offence:
the disorderly, offensive, threatening or violent behaviour of that person, and
the actual or likely interference by that person with the use or enjoyment of a public place by a member of the public.
A public place is widely defined as a place that is open to, or used by, the public whether or not on payment of a fee.
Since the High Court’s decision in Coleman v Power (2004) 220 CLR 1, there has been some significant litigation on the correct interpretation of this provision. The case law suggests these scenarios:
•It is enough if the offending behaviour is simply heard from a public place (e.g. when a person is screaming obscenities from inside their own home, and such obscenities are audible from the public footpath).
•The manner in which words are said can be considered when determining whether the words are offensive.
•A member of the public includes a police officer attending to their duties.
•The conduct must be likely to cause a disturbance or, at the very least, considerably annoy members of the public.
•There must be a real, not a remote, likelihood that a member of the public
will have their peaceful passage or enjoyment interfered with.
The maximum penalty for a public nuisance offence is a $1100 fine or six months imprisonment.
So the police would have to prove the offence, and your possible defence would be that your behaviour was not disorderly, offensive, threatening or violent, or your behaviour did not or was not likely to interfere with the peaceful passage through or enjoyment of, a public place by a member of the public, or you weren’t using offensive, obscene, indecent or abusive language.
Also have a look at
Legal Aid Qld’s Legal Information Guide “Have you been charged with an offence?” and “Breaking the law in a public place” page.
I note this is information not advice as LawAnswers is a forum not a law firm.
Thanks Amanda. My wife and I both do not recall me using any loud or offensive language while the two
police were attending inside my home. I was cooperative and caused no offence when asked to accompany the one police officer outside and all the way to the police van until he directed me to place my hands behind my back. That's when I assumed he was going to handcuff and arrest me. He made no statement or gave any hint that I was going to be detained until I protested and turned to my left and exclaimed hey, what are you doing. So without any offence up until then why would he ask me to place my hands behind my back? It seems an unreasonable demand to me. I was very vocal protesting the injustice on the way to the watch house but I wouldn't have been there at all had they not wrongfully arrested me.
Yet another point to be made here on this forum as I collect my thoughts about the initial occuurences is ; whilst one officer was questioning my son in my absence, had I already committed an offence to wit.? What was this offence and why has it not been mentioned yet to this day and time as of the sending of this notion to you.
Sorry I am getting ahead of myself. Yet st I'll the
police are stepping over the legal threshold and have arrested me before establishing any wrongdoing.