Diversion for Assaulting Emergency Worker

This is a case study on a sentence of diversion for assaulting an emergency worker.

The client made full admissions to the Police during her record of interview. She has no criminal priors and these factors contributed to a great outcome.

What is alleged to have occured?
Our client was charged with assaulting an emergency worker while on duty and with various other related offences. These charges arose from an incident where the client gripped onto a paramedic’s hand and kicked the paramedic’s face while in the back of an ambulance. At the time, the client was under the intoxicating effects of prescription medication and alcohol. She was struggling with poor mental health.

What happened at court?
We acted on the client’s behalf at the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on the following charges:

The Victorian government recently introduced mandatory gaol sentences into Victorian legislation for those who are found guilty of assaulting an on-duty emergency worker. This change was made in response to the demands of emergency service unions who rallied for protection from violence targeted at emergency workers.

For this case however, we provided excellent criminal defence so that the client was eventually sentenced to a diversion for assaulting an emergency worker.

The Law
A person will be sentenced to a mandatory prison sentence if they are found guilty of any of the following offences contained in the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) (‘the Crimes Act’):

  • Section 15A – cause serious injury intentionally in circumstances of gross violence;
  • Section 15B – cause serious injury recklessly in circumstances of gross violence;
  • Section 16 – cause serious injury intentionally;
  • Section 17 – cause serious injury recklessly; or
  • Section 18 – cause injury intentionally or recklessly
The Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) (‘the Sentencing Act’) mandates that a person found guilty of an offence in column one must be sentenced to the corresponding term of imprisonment listed in column two.

  • Section 15A – 5 years
  • Section 15B – 5 years
  • Section 16 – 3 years
  • Section 17 – 2 years
  • Section 18 – 6 months
The common thread in these offences is that the offender must have caused an ‘injury’ to the victim (emergency worker) to receive a mandatory prison sentence. Although, not every assault causes an injury. The Crimes Act defines an ‘injury’ as ‘unconsciousness, disfigurement, substantial pain, infection with a disease, an impairment of a bodily function and psychological harm’.

Notwithstanding the rigid amendments to sentencing for these offences, the Sentencing Act contains exceptions to the rule. These exceptions are if the offender has an impaired mental function, or if they agree to assist the Police with their investigation of an offence. Interestingly, the wording of the second exception suggests that it is not limited to assistance with the assault offence and may be for another offence.

What was the result?
The matter was adjourned to a specific date and the client was sentenced to a diversion for assaulting emergency worker.

Elements of Assault Emergency Worker:
  • The accused assaulted or threatened to assault, or resisted or intentionally obstructed a person (P);
  • The person (P) was an emergency worker on duty, or a youth justice custodial worker on duty, or a custodial officer on duty
  • The accused was knowing or being reckless as to whether the person (P) was an emergency worker, or a youth justice custodial worker, or a custodial officer
Related case studies
DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 08/01/2018