SA What if the police lie as an excuse to harass you?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now

Marissa C

Member
8 November 2019
3
0
1
Hello this actually didn't happen recently but it did change my whole view on the police in our area.

My husband and I were parked 10 steps from our home at a park that is literally next door. We had just got back from a night out and just weren't ready to go back inside the house. A police car had drove past twice and I had suspected that they were looking for people doing illegal things in the parking lot, but since the lot was full of parked cars I didn't really feel like it was a problem that we were there so we didn't leave the first time they drove past slow...

The 2nd time they had drove past they had the light out which made me nervous because I suspected they were looking for someone and I was thinking maybe we aren't safe but then the police park behind us and flash their lights. We roll our windows down and a female officer comes to my side while the male comes to my partners side.

She shines the light in the car and looks around while slowly coming up with the reason why they were there. "We have received a call about a couple shouting." She then asked me my name which I responded "Marissa." I then continued to explain that we were just enjoying a conversation before we had to go inside the house. Here is where it got weird, the lady then says that they were looking for a young lady named "Larissa." I told her "well my name is Marissa and we aren't the couple they were looking for."

She asked for my ID anyways and told me to step out of the car... I thought (is this illegal what they are doing?!) but complied anyways. She handed the ID to her partner who also took my husbands ID. She told me to put my hands on the hood and started to search me.... I had nothing on me... she asked about my accent, I told her I was from the US... she asked why I was in Australia, I said I was married to my husband and I came for him when we were friends but in the 4 years we have fallen in love and filed for partner visa...

My husband had a warrant over failing to show in court over driving with a Queensland license & plates after moving to adelaide. They arrested him and The cop was very rude and started to shove at my husband who has 7 hernias in his stomach... he wasn't able to bend the way the cop had him hunched over because of that but the cop said he was struggling and shoved him down on our car...they took my husband away and while he was in he cell he had heard the female telling the story and admitted she made up the Larissa name...

I remember shouting when they drove off "I hope Larissa is ok! It's good to know you are making the world a better place."

Was what the cops did to us ok?
 

Jesso

Well-Known Member
2 February 2020
28
3
124
To begin with you and your partners behaviour of sitting in the car does sound suspicious.
The police may have run your licence plate and made up the story of Larissa to assess your reaction maybe.. for all they know you guys could of broken into the car and we're trying to steal it.

Your husband being arrested that's what happens when you have an warrant for your arrest! He should have sorted it out not just skipped court.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
3,718
708
2,894
Sydney
Perhaps they suspected you of using drugs.
Or of drink driving.
Or of committing a lewd act in a public place.

And yes, requring you to exit a vehicle is ancillary to the exercise of several of their substantive powers.

Forget American style "probable cause", that's not in play here.

And as for the warrant, what else did you/he expect?
 

GlassHalfFull

Well-Known Member
28 August 2018
395
33
714
So the police can ask you to exit the vehicle without any legitimate reason whatsoever? (by legitimate, I mean a strong suspicion based on an observation, not just a gut feeling) I wasn't aware of that. Also, although clearly a police officer can lie and usually get away with it, is it actually considered acceptable behaviour to manipulate citizens into doing something they might not otherwise do? Like "Get in the police car, I've just been told your mother is sick, I'll take you to the hospital" when clearly they just want to essentially capture you and interrogate you without you having any inkling that you were a suspect? I know that's perhaps an extreme example but it's clearly very deceptive and unprofessional to outright lie and I suspect that sort of thing does happen. I'd like to think that should be strongly frowned upon by governing bodies and professional standards boards, but hey, maybe I'm naive!
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
3,718
708
2,894
Sydney
Reasonable suspicion is the basis of most police powers.

Full length explanation:
Any power granted (or a duty imposed) by statute carries with it, as a matter of law,
all the necessary and incidental powers to enable that power to be exercised, or that duty to be met.
 

GlassHalfFull

Well-Known Member
28 August 2018
395
33
714
Right okay, I understand REASONABLE suspicion, but what if it's clearly not reasonable? What if the police officer lies about their suspicion in order to get privileged access to a person or their car? I guess there's nothing any normal person can do about it in the heat of the moment, because you can't challenge 'reasonable suspicion' while the police are ordering you to do something without getting yourself arrested. After the fact, it's a bit late to fix the damage done. What I was asking, mainly, was whether any regulatory authority or professional standards board cares that police officers lie and trick the public to get what they want... Or is it effectively considered a valid way for the police to achieve their goals?
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
3,718
708
2,894
Sydney
...but what if it's clearly not reasonable?
People try this one on all the time. It almost never gets up.
What if the police officer lies about their suspicion...
You often find that, upon investigation, a suspicion ends up being unfounded. In which case, the person can typically leave.
...privileged access to a person or their car?
There is no such concept of privileged space.
A person is not "in private" in a vehicle the same way they can be when inside, say, a house.
 

GlassHalfFull

Well-Known Member
28 August 2018
395
33
714
People try this one on all the time. It almost never gets up.

You often find that, upon investigation, a suspicion ends up being unfounded. In which case, the person can typically leave.

There is no such concept of privileged space. A person is not "in private" in a vehicle the same way they can be when inside, say, a house.
Okay, so in summary, almost any suspicion is reasonable or can be justified as reasonable by police. A person can be searched for almost any reason at any time without warrant as long as it isn't in their own home. And if the police's suspicion ends up being unfounded, a person can leave but there are no apologies for getting it wrong, wasting their time and stressing them out, and they should just consider themselves fortunate for being able to leave at all. ;)

I can certainly see the attraction to the American system where police have to earn the right to control, search or otherwise impede the public.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
3,718
708
2,894
Sydney

GlassHalfFull

Well-Known Member
28 August 2018
395
33
714
Wow Tim, way to represent your profession with distinguished grace... No wonder lawyers are disliked so much by the public. Your contempt of 'us plebs' from on-high is appalling.

I wrote the above response slightly tongue in cheek, but if I'm not able to follow your reasoning, I suggest it's your unsatisfactorily limited explanation that is at fault, not my ability to understand 'adult concepts'. Also, what other 'grown ups' are talking here? It's just me and you at this point. You've already given your advice (such as it is) to the OP who posted way back in November and is unlikely to even read it now.

So would you like to have another go at explaining why my understanding of your explanation of the law is so off, or would you like your previous comment to stand as it is?