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  • NSW Police cannot arrest without intending to charge, High Court finds
  • By Nick Bonyhady
  • 06/12/2019 Make a Comment (1)
  • Contributed by: Sol ( 22 articles in 2019 )
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The High Court has ruled police cannot arrest people solely for the purpose of questioning them in a decision that preserves a longstanding civil liberty.

The state of NSW appealed to the High Court to overturn a lower court ruling that upheld the principle but was knocked back by the nation's highest court in a rare split decision, with a tight four to three majority.

The High Court's decision preserves constraints on the situations in which police can arrest people.

"Arrest cannot be justified where it is merely for the purpose of questioning," a majority of the High Court found on Wednesday.

Shopfront Youth Legal Centre principal solicitor Jane Sanders said the High Court's decision in NSW v Robinson confirmed that arrest was an "extraordinary power" involving a deprivation of liberty, which should only be used as a last resort.

"It's really important that the High Court has confirmed that arresting someone in connection with suspected criminal offence is a significant thing and it should only be used where police are actually intending to lay charges," Ms Sanders said.

Ms Sanders said the High Court's decision would help protect people from being put under pressure to talk to police as a result of "the trauma and stress of being under arrest".

Four judges of the High Court found the legislation governing NSW Police has not effectively changed on arrest powers since a 1935 decision, which found police have to intend to charge a suspect when they are arrested.

"Nothing ... has displaced that single criterion," Justices Stephen Gageler, James Edelman, Virginia Bell and Michelle Gordon wrote.

The other three judges, including Chief Justice Susan Kiefel, agreed police officers must intend to charge anyone they arrest, but held that intention can be qualified.

Police can request an interview with anyone but people are generally not required to agree to it.

They are also able to arrest suspects with an intention to charge and later release them if new information comes to light.

The case was brought by Brad Robinson, who was subject to an apprehended violence order.

He was arrested by a NSW Police constable, questioned and then released without charge in late 2013. The court found police had no intention to charge him when he was arrested.

NSW Greens justice spokesman David Shoebridge said: "It is very troubling that NSW Police took this appeal to the High Court with a clear plan to radically increase police arrest powers".

"For centuries we have had explicit legal protections from arbitrary arrest, and this appeal was a deliberate assault on that right without going to Parliament," Mr Shoebridge said.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said police had noted the High Court decision and "will be considering the judgment and its implications".

"The NSW Police Force treats all matters of domestic and family violence seriously," the spokeswoman said.

A NSW government spokeswoman said the government "is committed to ensuring our police have appropriate powers to ensure the safety of our community".


    By:Brad Robinson from NSW, Australia on May 2, 2020 @ 12:31 pm
    Roselyn Singh is a known fraud ripping off small business owners and has been for many years. Our business was an unfortunate victim of Singh.

    We made several complaints to various Government departments about her "fraudulent conduct" including ASIC where Singh is listed under several different names, DOB's and places of birth.

    In one of her companies ASIC had 7 different Singh's (all her) listed as directors. When her company UTSG Consortium Pty Ltd was wound up by ASIC after she lost her case against a creditor she owed over $750,000.00 Singh did an illegal Phoenix moving all assets to another company. When the appointed liquidators contacted Singh she told them they needed to speak to a different Singh to get the company records. After many months of trying to obtain business records they gave up indicating to ASIC they were unable to get any co-operation from UTSG directors. ASIC did nothing.

    Singh had aided and abetted staff in one of Sydney's largest data thefts of medical records sending the long established medical centre into bankruptcy. This was just one of the many frauds she has been involved in.

    Many complaints to various Government Departments including NSW Police, the HCCC, ASIC, Fair Trading and and the various allied health associations have been made about Dr Roselyn Singh PhD, MBA, B.Com (Hons).

    Singh even today still ply's her fraudulent trade ripping of small business owners with it seems complete immunity. I began wiring about Singh in blogs. Singh then made false accusations to obtain and AVO against me in the hope of stopping me publishing articles about her. When that failed she produced false evidence with an accomplice that indicated to Police I had breached the AVO. I was arrested and charged on two occasions both on false evidence. She set up a false email address in my name then wrote emails to herself and produced these as evidence of breaching the AVO.

    Police have refused to consider the irrefutable evidence of her dupliicty, and did not investigate any of her claims to obtain an AVO or the evidence of any so called breaches of the falsely obtained AVO . They took her at her word despite a brief of evidence and a fraud report of her doing exactly the same thing to a local doctor less than 12 months earlier. After writing to the commissioner of NSW Police about the matter I was informed it would be investigated. The matter was placed with the very same constable who issued the AVO. Needless to say "she" was not going to have her poor judgement in issuing the AVO exposed so you can guess what happened to the complaint.

    I have been attempting to have all charges dismissed and the record expunged I have had no luck on that front.

    For more about Roselyn Singh, google her name. There are pages of information about this fraud who continues to this very day ripping off people all over Sydney.

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