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In NSW, the offence of police pursuit is listed under section 51B of the Crimes Act 1900. The offence is also known as Skye’s Law as it was introduced after the toddler Skye Sassine was killed when a driver attempting to escape police crashed into her parents’ car.
The Offence of Police Pursuit:
Section 51B states: ” The driver of a vehicle:
- who knows, ought reasonably to know or has reasonable grounds to suspect that police officers are in pursuit of the vehicle and that the driver is required to stop the vehicle, and
- who does not stop the vehicle, and
- who then drives the vehicle recklessly or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to others,
is guilty of an offence.
What Penalties am I Facing?
The maximum penalty for police pursuit is 3 years jail for a first offence, or 5 years jail if you have been convicted of another major offence in the 5 years immediately before.
How Long Will I Lose My Licence for?
There is a minimum disqualification period of 1 year and an automatic period of 3 years.
What the Police Must Prove for Police Pursuit
Police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- the driver knew, ought reasonably to have known or has reasonable grounds to suspect that police officers were in pursuit;
- the driver knew, ought reasonably to have known or has reasonable grounds to suspect that the driver was required to stop the vehicle;
- the driver did not stop the vehicle, and;
- the driver subsequently drove the vehicle recklessly or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to others.
Possible Defences for Police Pursuit
Defences to the charge include:
- that the driver did not know the police were pursuing and had no reason to suspect they were pursuing (perhaps because the lights and sirens could not be heard);
- that the driver did not drive the vehicle recklessly or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to others after the pursuit was engaged;
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