Throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels - Charges, Penalties and Sentencing

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Throwing Rocks and Other Objects at Vehicles / Vessels


In NSW it is an offence to throw rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels. A person can be charged with this offence if they drop or throw a rock or other object at or towards a vehicle or vessel. The vehicle or vessel must be on a road, railway or waters, there must be a person in that vehicle and the act must risk the safety of any other person.

The offence is commonly charged in circumstances where people throw rocks at cars from overpasses on freeways because of the high danger this causes to drivers, other motorists and other road users.

The maximum penalty for ‘throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels’ is 5 years imprisonment.

Legislation

The offence of ‘throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels’ is contained in s 49A(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and states:

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

  • the person intentionally throws an object at, or drops an object on or towards, a vehicle or vessel that is on any road, railway or navigable waters, and
  • there is a person in the vehicle or vessel, and
  • the conduct risks the safety of any person.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

What Actions Might Constitute Throwing Rocks and Other Objects at Vehicles and Vessels?

Examples of ‘throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels’ include:

  • Standing on an overpass and dropping rocks on or near cars travelling on the freeway below;
  • Throwing objects in front of a truck as it drives past; or
  • Pouring water onto the skipper of a boat as it’s about to travel under the bridge you’re standing on.

What must be proven?

To convict a person of ‘throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels’ the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That they threw or dropped that object on or towards a vehicle or vessel;
  • That there was a person in that vehicle or vessel;
  • That their conduct caused risk to a person.

Possible Defences

The most common ways to defend this charge are:

  • To argue that you did not throw or drop an object;
  • To argue that you did not throw or drop the object intentionally;
  • To argue that you did not throw or drop the object towards a vehicle or vessel;
  • To argue that no one was in the vehicle or vessel;
  • To argue that your actions did not cause any risk to the safety of any person;

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

The offence of ‘throwing rocks and other objects at vehicles’ is a Table 2 offence. This means that the matter will likely be dealt with in the Local Court, however, the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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