Australia, Court of Appeal of New South Wales, Bassi v Commissioner of Police (NSW), 9 June 2020

Description

This case law summary was developed as part of the Disaster Law Database (DISLAW) project, and is not an official record of the case.

Date
Geographical Area
Asia Pacific
Countries
Australia
Case Name
Bassi v Commissioner of Police (NSW)
Case Reference
[2020] NSWCA 109
Name of Court
Court of Appeal of New South Wales
Decision and Reasoning
The Court found that the issue did not surround whether the risk of Covid-19 transmission outweighed the rights of free speech and assembly, but rather whether Bassi gave timely notice. They held that he did.

The stated that although the particulars of the assembly changed very significantly, this did not mean that the original notice of intention ceased to have legal efficacy or that the amended notice was a new notice. Instead, differing from the primary judge, the Court held that the change in the notice’s particulars was amended by agreement between the Commissioner and Bassi – an action permitted under s.24 of the Summary Offences Act. The Court stated that in the email sent to Bassi by the Police detailing the particulars which were altered, the use of the word ‘modified’ suggested that it was the same notice albeit in a modified form, and the request that Bassi bring a signed copy of the amendment form to the Police Station was an “unequivocal indication” of non-opposition. In terms of substance, although there were significant changes to the proposed amount of people attending, the Court noted that s.24 did not limit the nature of amendments which may be agreed on, so could include an amendment of this type.
Outcome
At 2:45pm on 6 June 2020, the Court declared that the public assembly – beginning at 3pm that day – was an authorised public assembly.
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