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Assault, Resisting or Obstructing a Police Officer

What is Assaulting, Resisting or Obstructing a Police Constable?
Section 89 of the Police Act 1996 creates the offence of Assaulting, Resisting or Obstructing a Police Constable.
Assault with the Intent to Resist Arrest is a summary offence which means it can be tried in the Magistrates Court only. Some forms of Assaulting, Resisting or Obstructing a Police Constable are considered more serious than others depending on the harm caused. Factors which may make the offence more serious include:
  • Violence is caused to vulnerable people
  • Abuse of power and/or position of trust
  • Offence racially or religiously aggravated
  • Offence motivated by, or demonstrating, hostility to the victim based on his or her sexual orientation (or presumed sexual orientation)
  • Offence motivated by, or demonstrating, hostility to the victim based on the victim’s disability (or presumed disability)
  • A significant degree of premeditation
  • Use of weapon or weapon equivalent
  • Intention to commit more serious harm than actually resulted from the offence
  • Leading role in group or gang
  • Offence motivated by, or demonstrating, hostility based on the victim’s age, sex, gender identity (or presumed gender identity)
What are the potential defences?
Self-Defence: A person may use reasonable force to defend himself, his property or another. A person must not use force in attacking or retaliating or revenging himself. It is permissible to use force, not merely to counter an attack, but to ward off an attack that is considered to be imminent. The reasonableness or otherwise of the belief is only relevant in ascertaining whether the person actually held the belief or not. A man who is attacked can defend himself but can only do what is objectively reasonable in the circumstances as he believed them to be at the time.
Duress: Where the defence of duress is successfully pleaded it absolves the defendant of all criminal liability. The rationale behind the defence of duress is that whilst the defendant clearly has the mens rea (or guilty mind) of the crime, in committing the crime, they are acting out of compulsion and are therefore not exercising freedom of choice. Whilst the defence of duress is a general defence, there are some limits on its application.
Consent: Consent of the victim is a defence but there are limits to this. A person cannot consent to such serious injury and whether a person can consent will be decided based on whether it is in the public interest to allow the activity complained of.
Trespasser: A trespasser should first be asked to leave but if he refuses then as much force as is reasonably necessary to remove him can be used. Similarly such reasonable force can be used to protect one’s property from actual or imminent damage which would have otherwise constituted an unlawful or criminal act.
What is the likely sentence?
The sentencing process often requires the weighing up of multiple factors including consideration of both aggravating and mitigating factors. It involves a two-stage process :
  1. What sentence does the seriousness of the offence itself merit?
  2. Can that sentence be reduced in light of mitigation relating to the offender?
The court will initially determine which offence category the case falls in to. The court should determine the offender’s culpability and the harm caused, or intended. Having determined this, the sentence could potentially range from a fine to a 26 weeks in custody sentence.
What do I do next?
Bains & Co Solicitors have extensive experience of defending the full range of criminal offences. What we do is defend individuals and businesses facing investigation or prosecution.
We cover most of the West Midlands including the following areas:
Dudley, Smethwick, Bearwood, Oldbury, Tividale, Tipton, Netherton, Stourbridge, West Browmich, Halesowen, Wednesbury, Birmingham, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Bilston and many more.
If you are required to attend court or a police station, please contact Bains & Co Solicitors Free on 0800 077 6303 or alternatively make a free, no obligation enquiry, simply click below and complete the form online, we will be in touch with you soon. The enquiry service is Free so you have nothing to worry about. We are here to help you 7 days a week.


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