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Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest

In Victoria, Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest is in section 30 of the Crimes Act 1958, which is threatening to injury a Police officer to avoid an arrest or hinder an investigation.

Has the Police accused or charged you with Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest? If so, you will have important questions you would like answered. Call our firm to arrange a time to speak with one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers who can help you deal with this charge.
 
Police interview
It is important that you receive legal advice before speaking with Police about allegations of Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest. We can advise you about what should be said during a Police interview. You may have questions about the interview process, what to expect, what you must answer, what you are not obliged to answer or say, if you will be bailed or released pending a summons.

If the Police want to speak with you about an allegation of Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest, speak with one of our experienced lawyers first. Anything you tell the Police without advice can make running a defence in Court more difficult later on. Don’t compromise your case by not receiving legal advice.

Our lawyers can also attend the Police station with you if it gives you comfort having someone there to help you through the process.

Pleading not guilty
We are defence lawyers who specialise in fighting charges like Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest. We can create a case strategy for you. We have in-house counsel who run our contested hearings and trials who can get involved from the beginning if you are accused of Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest. This is a great option because you will have two lawyers working on your case from the very beginning.

In a case like this, you want a lawyer who is going to be proactive and immediately request material from the Police which can expose the weaknesses in the Police case.

By requesting material from Police, it may lead to a charge of Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest being withdrawn or an acquittal.

We believe it is very important for our clients to understand what they are facing.

Pleading guilty
If you are pleading guilty to Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest, we can represent you at your Plea Hearing. We advise our clients on everything they need to know before entering a plea of guilty. We can advise you how to prepare your plea to get the possible outcome in Court. We will help you to arrange reports and documents that will help avoid a prison sentence. Call us and discuss how to get the best result.
Threatening injury to prevent arrest is an indictable offence triable summarily and is ordinarily heard in the Magistrates’ Court.1


[1] Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) s 28.
 
What is the legal definition of Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest?
A person who threatens injury to any other person or to any property with intent—

  1. to prevent or hinder the lawful apprehension or detention of himself or herself or any other person; or
  2. to prevent or hinder a police officer or a protective services officer from investigating in a lawful manner any act or circumstance which reasonably calls for investigation by a police officer or a protective services officer—
is guilty of an indictable offence.

Penalty: Level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum).

Examples of Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest
  • The accused threatens to stab police officers if they attempt to arrest them.
  • The accused threatens to break another person’s leg if a police officer tries to arrest them.
  • The accused threatens to break a car windscreen to prevent another person from calling the police so that the accused can be arrested.
  • The accused threatens to push a PSO into the path of an oncoming train if the PSO investigates a suspicious package the PSO reasonably believes contains illicit drugs.
Legislation
The relevant legislative provision for this offence is section 30 of Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) (the Act).

Elements of the offence
To prove that an accused committed a charge of Threatening Injury to Prevent Arrest, the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused threatened injury to any other person or to any property; and
  2. The accused had the intent to prevent or hinder the lawful apprehension or detention of himself or herself or any other person; or
  3. The accused had the intent to prevent or hinder a police officer or a protective services officer from investigating in a lawful manner any act or circumstance which reasonably calls for investigation by a police officer or a protective services officer.
The offence will be made out if either element 1 and element 2; or element 1 and element 3 are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt.

Element 1: the accused threatened injury to any other person or to any property
The prosecution must first prove that the accused threatened injury to any other person or property.

It is not enough for an accused to make a general threat for this element of the offence to be made out. The accused must threaten ‘injury’. Injury in relation to a person is non-exhaustively defined in the Act as ‘unconsciousness, disfigurement, substantial pain, infection with a disease and an impairment of bodily function’ and ‘psychological harm’.2

Injury to property is not defined in the Act. Injuring property is comparable to damaging property. Damaging property has been broadly defined in Victorian case law to mean ‘permanent or temporary reduction of functionality, utility or value’.3

The accused must threaten some action that would result in an injury to person or property for the first element of the offence to be satisfied.

“Can they prove that you threatened to inflict an injury?”
Element 2: the accused had the intent to prevent or hinder the lawful apprehension or detention of himself or herself or any other person
The second element of this offence requires the prosecution to prove that accused intend that their threat to inflict an injury on person or property will prevent or hinder the lawful apprehension or detention of themselves or any other person.

The accused must have wished that their threat would bring about the prevention or hindrance of the lawful apprehension of themselves or any other person. It is not enough that the accused is reckless as to whether or not their threat may have this result. They must have intended this to be so.

The apprehension or detention the accused intends to prevent or hinder must be ‘lawful’. There are strict requirements for when an arrest will be lawful.4 This element of the offence will only apply where any apprehension or detention is lawful.

Element 3: The accused had the intent to prevent or hinder a police officer or a protective services officer from investigating in a lawful manner any act or circumstance which reasonably calls for investigation by a police officer or a protective services officer
The third element of this offence requires the prosecution to prove that an accused intended to prevent or hinder a police officer or PSO for investigating in a lawful manner any act or circumstance that reasonably calls for investigation.

The same mental element of ‘intention’ that applies for element 2 of this offence applies for element 3.

To satisfy element 3, the accused must be threatening a ‘police officer or PSO’ as defined in the Victoria Police Act 2013 (Vic).5 The police officer or PSO must be investigating an act or circumstance in a ‘lawful manner’ for this element of the offence to apply. The act or circumstance must also ‘reasonably’ call for investigation.


[2] Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 15.
[3] R v Previsic [2008] VSCA 112.
[4] Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) ss 457-463B.
[5] Victoria Police Act 2013 (Vic), Part 3.

 
Most defences to this charge turn on some element of the offence not being made out. These defences include:
  • The accused did not threaten any person or property;
  • The accused did not threaten to injure any person or property;
  • The accused did not intend for that their threat would prevent or hinder the lawful arrest of themselves or another person, or the lawful investigation of an act or circumstance that calls for investigation.
Duress is another defence that may apply to this charge in certain circumstances.6

Questions in cases like this
  • Did the accused make a threat against another person or property?
  • Did the accused make a threat to injure the other person or property?
  • Did the accused intend that their threat would prevent or hinder the lawful arrest of themselves or another person, or the lawful investigation of an act or circumstance that calls for investigation by a police officer or PSO?
Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.


[6] Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 322O.
 

The maximum penalty for threatening injury to prevent arrest (s30 of the Crimes Act 1958) is level 6 imprisonment (5 years).7



[7] Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 30.