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Legal > Criminal Law & Criminal Offences

Arrests:

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A police officer has the power to arrest an individual where one of the following exists:

  1. The individual is in the act of or immediately after, committing an offence under any Act;
  2. The individual has committed a serious indictable offence for which they have not been tried: or
  3. The police officer has a reasonable suspicion of the individual having committed an offence under any Act.

This basis for this power lies in the Law Enforcement (Powers & Responsibilities) Act 2002 (LEPRA). Where a police officer makes an arrest due to reasonable suspicion of the individual having committed an offence, reasonable suspicion alone is not enough to constitute a lawful arrest. Under section 99(3) of LEPRA, a police officer may only make an arrest if he or she suspects on reasonable grounds that it is necessary to arrest the person to achieve one of the following: 

  • Ensure the appearance of the person before a Court in respect of an offence;
  • Prevent the repetition or continuation of the offence or a further offence;
  • Prevent harassment or interference with another investigation;
  • Prevent the fabrication of evidence; and
  • Preserve the safety of the person.

This is known as the principle of arrest as last resort. According to the case of R v Rondo [2001] NSWCCA 540, reasonable suspicion involves less than a reasonable belief but more than a possibility. Some factual basis for the suspicion must be shown. What is important is the information in the mind of the police officer stopping the person or the vehicle or making the arrest at the time he or she did so. Nevertheless, the police officer must have reasonable grounds for making the arrest. If you believe that you have been arrested unlawfully, you should seek legal advice immediately. Our Criminal Lawyers have extensive experience in unlawful arrests.

Under LEPRA, a police officer making an arrest must only make such an arrest for the purpose of taking proceedings in relation to the offence. The police officer must bring the arrested person before a Magistrate, Registrar or Bail Justice as soon as practicable to initiate such proceedings. A police officer cannot make an arrest merely for the purpose of investigation or questioning.

The Criminal Lawyers at Navado Lawyers & Solicitors have experience across a range of arrest matters. Book your first free consultation today.

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