Police Pursuits, are considered extremely dangerous and are treated very seriously by the NSW Criminal Courts. Between 2019 and 2020 the NSW Police Force released data indicating that they engaged in 3,117 pursuits (NSW Police Annual Report 2019-2020). Of these 166 resulted in a collision with 71 of these collisions resulting in injuries. The overwhelming majority of these pursuits are due to traffic related offences or stolen motor vehicles. Despite this between 2000 to 2011 there were 185 fatal pursuit related collisions resulting in 218 deaths, 38% of these deaths were classed as ‘innocent persons’. One of those innocents was toddler Skye Sassine.
It was following Skye’s death that ‘Skye’s Law’ was introduced or Police Pursuits under section 51B of the Crimes Act.
The prosecution must prove the following:
(1) The driver of a vehicle—
(b) who does not stop the vehicle, and
(c) who then drives the vehicle recklessly or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to others.
If you have been arrested or charged in relation to a Police Pursuit you should obtain expert advice immediately as the penalties for this offence can be significant. The court will consider a number of factors when deciding on an appropriate penalty in considering the manner of the driving, some of these include:
- Nature and/or condition of the road
- Amount of traffic or expected traffic on the road
- Obstructions or hazards on the road.
Police Pursuits, are often charged in connection with Driving a motor vehicle furiously, recklessly and/or at speed in a manner dangerous to the public under section 117 of the Road Transport Act. These offences are often used to ‘back up’ each offence, therefore, it is critical that the circumstances of the offence are considered in relation to the charges.
Catron Simmons Lawyers we can provide you with expert guidance from prosecuting and defending countless police pursuits and related matters.