Man sues police for assault, battery, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution (R v State of NSW)

Key words: Assault – battery – malicious prosecution – false imprisonment – unlawful arrest – successful court action


JR went to a pub with his wife. Upon arrival, he asked a male bouncer where he could purchase food, but the bouncer did not appear to understand his question. Later that evening, the same bouncer approached JR and asked him to talk to him outside.

JR went outside with the bouncer, who then told him he was not allowed back in the pub as he was intoxicated. JR said that this was not true, as he was the designated driver that evening. He said he needed to get his wife, and tried to re-enter the hotel. The bouncer then grabbed his arm to stop him re-entering.

Another security guard then also approached him, and pushed him in the chest, grabbed his arm, and verbally abused him. As a result of this, JR asked security personnel to call the police so that he could report this assault.

When the police arrived, they issued JR with an infringement notice for failing to leave premises when required. When JR realised the police were not going to take his assault complaint seriously, him and his wife left. The police followed him, and used force to place him in the rear of a police vehicle.

JR was then imprisoned at a police station for two hours. Upon his release, he attempted to make a formal complaint about his treatment by his arresting officers. The police barred him from the station so he could not make this complaint.

JR challenged the infringement notice over 2 days in the Local Court and as a result it was dismissed.

JR approached O’Brien Solicitors to help him address any avenues of recourse he might have against the police.


O’Brien Solicitors helped JR successfully sue the police in the District Court for assault, battery, false imprisonment (unlawful arrest), and malicious prosecution. The police vigorously defended their part in the matter over 10 days.

However, when video footage of the incident emerged, it had clearly been edited by the police as it was missing ‘crucial exchanges’ between JR and the police. These may have provided exculpatory evidence in JR’s favour.

Ultimately, the judge found in favour of JR.