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What the law says
Sections 6 of the Summary Offences Act Queensland states:
- A person must not commit a public nuisance offence.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.
- The accused behaves in
- (a) a disorderly way; or
- (b) an offensive way; or
- (c) a threatening way; or
- (d) a violent way; and
- The person's behaviour interferes, or is likely to interfere with the peaceful passage through, or enjoyment of, a public place by a member of the public.
A person behaves in an offensive way if the person uses offensive, obscene, indecent or abusive language; and a person behaves in a threatening way if the person uses threatening language.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.
The Maximum penalty for the offence of Public Nuisance is 10 penalty untis or 6 months imprisonment.
Which court will hear the matter
This matter is a simple offence which means it is dealt with in the Magistrates Court.
Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to
- Identification i.e. not the accused.
- The behaviour was not disorderly, offensive, threatening or violent.
- The accused's behaviour did not or was not likely to interfere with the peaceful passage through or enjoyment of, a public place by a member of the public.
- The accused was not using offensive, obscene, indecent or abusive language.
Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Public Nuisance matters)