Police Brutality Successfully Appealed

, Police Brutality Successfully Appealed

Police Brutality Successfully Appealed

ARREST OF CARL HOPPNER ON AUSTRALIA DAY TURNED VIOLENT

Back on Australia Day January 26th this year, Indigenous man Carl Hoppner was arrested by Toronto Police, near Newcastle, for intimidating his wife, and drunken and aggressive behaviour. There is CCTV footage of police kicking and punching Hoppner after his arrest. Mr Hoppner later pleaded guilty to headbutting and elbowing arresting officers and spitting blood-filled saliva on another. The police also allegedly said to Hoppner “Happy invasion day you black c***” and this was not disputed in Court proceedings.

Mr Hoppner was sentenced in Toronto Local Court in February to a 10-month gaol term. This week, Hoppner successfully appealed this conviction in the Newcastle District Court, where his sentence was changed to an Intensive Correction Order to be served in the community. The Judge held the police accountable, noting that they should not conduct themselves in such a way, using violence to deal with Hoppner. The Judge stated that their actions escalated the whole situation and that NSW police need re-training in how to deal with inebriated people. The police are now investigating the case internationally and has been referred to the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.

Hoppner’s new sentence requires him to be of good behaviour for 12 months and attend rehabilitation courses. The basis of the appeal was that extra curial punishment, i.e. the punches and kicks Hoppner suffered at the hands of police, served as extra punishment.

OFFENCE

Assault Police Officer In The Execution Of Their Duty

Section 60(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) makes it a criminal offence to assault, throw a missile at, stalk, harass or intimidate a police officer while in the execution of their duty. If no actual bodily harm is occasioned then the maximum penalty for this offence is 5 years’ imprisonment. As per section 60(2), if actual bodily harm is occasioned, then the maximum penalty for this offence is 7 years’ imprisonment.

One can see from the available penalties that this offence is considered to be very serious. This is intended to reflect the great sacrifice of police officers to serve our community and that offending of this type is to be treated as significant by the Courts. The penalties increase for situations involving a riot, affray, public disorder and grievous bodily harm. To learn more about these offences, check out our dedicated page.

WHAT IS EXTRA-CURIAL PUNISHMENT?

As per the Sentencing Bench Book, the Court can consider ‘extra-curial punishment’. This is defined as a “loss or detriment imposed on an offender by persons other than the sentencing court, for the purpose of punishing the offender for his [or her] offence or at least by reason of the offender having committed the offence”: Silvano v R (2008). It is “punishment that is inflicted upon an offender otherwise than by a court of law”: R v Wilhelm [2010].

This essentially means that if an offender suffers, for example, a serious ambush and attack by members of the public, in reaction to some reprehensible conduct, this can be considered as extra punishment for the offence. The Court can take into account punishment by others, in the form of abuse, harassment and threats of injury to person or property, for example, or persons extracting revenge for the commission of an offence.

The Court places different weight on extra-curial punishment, depending on the circumstances of the case. In some cases, this principle does not attract any weight on sentencing. For example, where the Court finds that injuries were self-inflicted deliberately by the offender whilst in custody. There has been split authority on the aspect of losing one’s employment as a matter of extra-curial punishment. It has been noted if the offending behaviour was in connection with one’s occupation and professional consequences could be anticipated from engaging in such conduct, then it cannot be extra punishment. An example of this is where a teacher in a high school sexually assaults a student.

WHAT IS AN INTENSIVE CORRECTION ORDER?

An Intensive Correction Order (ICO) is an alternative form of imprisonment, served in the community rather than in full-time custody. Offenders are under intensive supervision. The idea is to hold them accountable for their actions and ensure their behaviours that led to the offending are addressed. When considering sentencing a person with an ICO, the Court must keep the safety of the community in mind as a matter of priority. The point of an ICO is to reduce rates of re-offending by having offenders subject to supervision and participate in rehabilitation. The standard conditions of an ICO is to not commit any offence and to submit to supervision. One additional condition must be enforced, to suit the needs of the individual. This can include home detention, electronic monitoring, a curfew, community service work, rehabilitation, abstaining from drugs, alcohol or both, not associating with certain people and prohibition on visiting certain places. A breach of these conditions can lead to revoking the ICO and serving the rest of imprisonment, in full-time custody.

For information on different types of penalties a Court may sentence a person to, check out our recent blog post.

POLICE INTERNAL INVESTIGATION PROCESS

It is not clear if anything will arise out of an internal police investigation into their own conduct. The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC), however, is a permanent and independent investigative body set up to provide oversight of the NSW Police Force and NSW Crime Commission. Useful information can be found on their website, describing what conduct should be reported and how to file a complaint.

Book your first free appointment with National Criminal lawyers now.
CONTACT US! 02 9893 1889

Book Appointment

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • :