Diversion for Assaulting Police Officers and Resisting Arrest

This is a case study on a sentence of diversion for assaulting police officers and resisting arrest.

Our client was sitting at a St Kilda bar after spending most of the afternoon and night drinking. He worked in a demanding job and lately he had been managing his stress by increasing his alcohol intake. He was on a bad trajectory and, unfortunately, things fell apart very quickly on this particular day.

What is alleged to have occured?
A group of police officers entered the bar and they observed the client walk towards the bathroom and then try and leave the premises after exiting the bathroom. The officers thought the behaviour was suspicious and attempted to stop him by requesting his ID. A combination of stress at work and too much alcohol complicated this simple task and, unfortunately, the client did not co-operate with the officers.

The situation became physical with more officers called as back up. The police struggled to contain the client – a solidly built man – as he continued to evade what was now an arrest situation.

Eventually the police tackled him to the ground but the client continued to struggle, finally spitting on an officer before reinforcements arrived and he was transported to the cells. A series of unfortunate events later and the client was charged with multiple charges.

What happened at court?
We represented the client at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. The charges against the client were:

Offences involving the mistreatment of police officers or any emergency worker on or off duty are extremely serious. However for this case, we successfully secured a sentence of diversion for the charges of assaulting police officers and resisting arrest. Factors that contributed to this sentence are that the client did not have any prior criminal history, worked full time, and was having difficulties with alcoholism and mental health.

We advised the client that an independent forensic assessment from a psychologist may be a compelling piece of material to present to the court. This would assist in contextualising the incident as being isolated. It would also help the case by showing the court further insight into the client’s mental health and alcohol issues.

We also reached out to the arresting officer. He had a frank discussion about some of the client’s personal struggles and suggested that diversion may be an appropriate source of action.

As previously mentioned, offending against police officers is treated very seriously and spitting on an officer is simply not acceptable behaviour. However we were able to carefully craft and present the client’s instructions alongside extra support of the psychological document.

What was the result?
Finally, the arresting police officer was persuaded and agreed to a diversion. A diversion notice was filed and the magistrate agreed to it as well. The client was granted diversion.

Diversion is an incredible opportunity, but one that is only granted in limited circumstances. No recording of the incident is kept on people’s individual police records. It is as the name suggests – diverted out of the criminal justice system. Negotiating the various steps of a diversion can be difficult however We were able to convince the police and prosecutors that diversion for assaulting police officers and resisting arrest was the right option for this client.

Elements of Assaulting or Resisting Police:
  • The accused assaulted or threatened to assault a police officer.
  • The intention of the accused in doing so was to prevent his lawful apprehension or detention.
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 15/10/2019