RESIST OR HINDERING POLICE15-Jul-2010 Law Article by: Geoff Harrison | Sydney Criminal Barrister | Sydney Criminal Lawyer | Published 15/7/2010
The offences of resisting or hindering a police officer as per s546C of the Crimes Act 1900 (set out below) are summary offences ie. dealt with in the Local Court and carry a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment or a fine of 10 penalty units ($1100). The elements of the offence are as follows:
1. The person resists or hinders;
2. a police officer;
3. in the execution of duty.
Resist or Hinder:
For a person’s actions to constitute “resist” there must be an opposing by force of a course of action which the person resisted was attempting to pursue: R v Galvin (No 2)  VR 740. To ‘Hinder’ a police officer - this has been held to be conduct that renders an action of the police officer more difficult but not impossible: Donnelly v Jackman  1 WLR 562.
A Police Officer:
It is not an element of the offence that the person knew that the person resisted was a police officer: R v Galvin (No 2)  VR 740. However, this may lead to other possible defences such as self defence or an honest and reasonable mistake of fact.
In the execution of duty:
This element of the offence has been interpreted broadly (R v K 91993) 71 A Crim R 115):
[A] police officer acts in the execution of his duty form the moment he embarks upon a lawful task connected with his function as a police officer, and continues to act in the execution of that duty for as long as he is engaged in pursuing the task and until it is completed, provided that he does not in the course of the task do anything outside the ambit of his duty so as to cease to be acting therein.
CRIMES ACT 1900 - SECT 546C
Resisting etc police
Any person who resists or hinders or incites any person to assault, resist or hinder a police officer in the execution of his or her duty shall be liable on conviction before the Local Court to imprisonment for 12 months or to a fine of 10 penalty units, or both.