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    A police officer has finally been charged with common assault after being filmed throwing a man to the ground in September 2021.

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      Police Officer Filmed Throwing Man Down During Lockdown Charged with Common Assault

      A police officer has finally been charged with common assault after being filmed throwing a man to the ground in September 2021.

      The incident occurred during the lockdown, when large anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protests were taking place.

      The officer was suspended following the release of the footage on social media.

      Charged with Common Assault

      The 36-year-old police officer was charged with common assault, recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault following an investigation by Victoria Police.

      The incident was caught on film by an onlooker and posted to social media, where it was widely circulated.

      The footage shows two police officers speaking to a man before a third officer appears to grab the man and throw him down forcefully.

      The man has both of his arms held by the officer and appears to hit his head on the ground.

      It has been revealed that the officer in question is a senior constable. The incident occurred at Flinders Street Station on 22 September 2021.

      At the time the city was in lockdown, although large anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protests were taking place in Melbourne.

      The Victoria Police investigation was overseen by the state’s anti-corruption watchdog, Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC).

      Officer Suspended

      After the video of the Flinders Street train station arrest was posted to social media, it was brought to the attention of police.

      Victoria Police suspended the officer after the footage appeared to show him grabbing a man from behind and swinging him to the ground.

      At the time he was suspended, the officer was working as an acting sergeant in a specialist support unit.

      Police called for witnesses to contact Crime Stoppers, including the person who filmed it.

      Video shared widely on social media

      The video of the arrest was shared across social media since it was uploaded.

      Prior to the senior constable being charged with common assault, Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patton told 3AW police were reviewing the footage.

      “We’ll investigate that. I don’t know what the full circumstances are. There’s always context to everything,” Commissioner Patton said. It is unclear whether any defences to assault will be relied on.

      However, leading assault lawyers were far less diplomatic when addressing the video.

      Barrister and Liberty Victoria president Julia Kretzenbacher wrote on Twitter that it was “unacceptable” behaviour and that, “VicPol have powers to use force, but they have to be exercised lawfully and safely.”

      Australian Lawyers Alliance Victorian president, Jeremy King, also voiced his concern when the footage emerged.

      “I appreciate that it has been a long and difficult week for police and their patience is wearing thin…But this sort of conduct can never be justified. It is excessive and dangerous, violence from either side should be roundly condemned.”

      Common Assault

      In NSW, Section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 sets out that Common assault is an act whereby a person intentionally or recklessly causes another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence.

      To establish a common assault charge, the prosecution must prove the following:

      1. You committed an act; and
      2. This act caused immediate and unlawful violence to the alleged victim, OR caused the alleged victim to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence; and
      3. You had the requisite intent (recklessness is sufficient)

      The following defences to common assault can be relied on:

      1. Self defence: Your actions were a reasonable response in the circumstances as you perceived them.
      2. No hostility: You did not have the intent to cause immediate and unlawful violence. This could be if your touching of the alleged victim was an accident or socially acceptable/necessary contact (eg. touching someone to get their attention).
      3. Consent: The alleged victim consented to the touching
      4. Duress: You were forced to commit the assault
      5. Necessity: Your actions were necessary in the circumstances

      While it is ultimately up to the Magistrate or Judge as to what Common Assault sentence you will receive, there are sentencing statistics that can be helpful in providing some guidance. We have obtained a list of 27618 cases in the Local Court which provide a range:

      • Section 10 dismissal: 27%
      • Fine: 15%
      • Section 9 good behaviour bond: 41%
      • Community Service Order: 3%
      • Section 12 suspended sentence (no longer used for NSW offences): 5%
      • Intensive Corrections Order: 1%
      • Home Detention: 0%
      • Full Time Imprisonment: 6%

      While jail is a possibility, only 6% of offenders are sentenced to full-time imprisonment. More significantly, the overwhelming majority of offenders received convictions for this offence. The rate of convictions increases for domestic violence assaults.

      If you are charged with common assault, you should contact Astor Legal immediately so that we can help you avoid a criminal conviction. You can view some recent cases here.

      If this is your first offence, you will generally be dealt with more leniently by the Court. A list of 10728 first offence Common Assault sentencing cases in the Local Court suggests that you will be far more likely to receive a Section 10 dismissal if you have no prior record.

      However, there are still a large amount of individuals who are convicted despite it being their first offence.

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