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警員執行職務和過分武力

2019/9/2 — 19:06

法律賦予警員在執行職務期間只可以使用在特定情況下合適的武力,並且在達到目的後就要立即停止。

一旦警員使用過分武力,警員將不會被視作在執行職務,並可被視為對他人進行毆打(Battery)。又如一旦警察在無合理基礎之上進行拘捕,警員亦不會被視作在執行職務警察,並會構成非法禁錮(如在逮捕的情況),從而在法律上容許被警察非法逮捕或襲擊者使用合理武力脫身。(見:Yeung May Wan & Others v HKSAR (2005) 8 HKCFAR 137, 160B-J; 朱經緯案;McBean v Parker (1983) 147 JP 205)

以下的三宗英國案件已經説明警員在使用過分武力時已經不可被視作在執行職務。在這些英國案件中我們可以看到法庭對於警察使用武力的標準是十分嚴格,稍有超越如此標準,法庭是會裁定警務人員已經不再是執行職責。

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在 Collins v Wilcock [1984] 1 WLR 1172 中一名女警嘗試用手抓着一名她認為妓女的女士以便警察去查出該女士的名字進行警告時,該女士抓傷女警,原審裁判官判該名女士襲擊執行職責的警務人員罪成,但該被告最終上訴得直。高等法院兩名法官一致認為警員在這情況之下使用的非法武力,從而不再是在執行職務。針對在何種情況下是非法武力,法庭指出:

“[I]f, taking into account the nature of his duty, his use of physical contact in the face of non-co-operation persists beyond generally acceptable standards of conduct, his action will become unlawful; and if a police officer restrains a man, for example by gripping his arm or his shoulder, then his action will also be unlawful, unless he is lawfully exercising his power of arrest … What is not permitted, however, is the unlawful use of force or the unlawful threat, actual or implicit, to use force; and, excepting the lawful exercise of his power of arrest, the lawfulness of a police officer’s conduct is judged by the same criteria as are applied to the conduct of any ordinary citizen of this country (1178 G-H)

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法庭接著在判詞内審視了一連串襲擊正在執行職責的警務人員控罪的案件,法庭認為當中最重要的問題是 “Whether the police officer, by using physical force on the accused in response to which the accused assaulted the police officer, was acting unlawfully and so not acting in the execution of his duty”,法庭在判處此案上訴得直時認為:

“If the physical contact went beyond what is allowed by law, the mere fact that the police officer had the laudable intention of carrying out the cautioning procedure in accordance with established practice cannot, we think, have the effect of rendering her action lawful… The fact is that the prosecutrix took hold of the defendant by the left arm to restrain her. In so acting, she was not proceeding to arrest the defendant; and since her action went beyond the generally acceptable conduct of touching a person to engage his or her attention, it must follow, in our judgment, that her action constituted a battery on the defendant, and was therefore unlawful…But if a police officer, not exercising his power of arrest, nevertheless reinforces his request with the actual use of force, or with the threat, actual or implicit, to use force if the other person does not comply, then his act in thereby detaining the other person will be unlawful” (1180 C-H)

在 Ludlow and Others v Burgress (1972) 75 Cr. App. R. 227 中,被告與身穿便衣但沒有帶委任証的警員有所爭執,被告不斷以粗言穢語相對。在過程中已經表明身份的警員嘗試用手放在被告肩膀上意圖阻止他離開現場,然而被告反抗,一脚踢到警察。法庭雖然認為被告明顯地干犯了普通襲擊,但是因為被告被控的是襲擊執行職責的警務人員一罪,所以法庭認為:

“Here is a detention of a man against his will without arrest. On any view that is unlawful and a serious interference with the citizen’s liberty and in those circumstances it cannot be an act performed in the execution of a police officer’s duty; accordingly the defendant Foran and all the others who thereupon at the time assaulted the police are not guilty of the charge laid, assault on a police officer in the execution of his duty” (228)

在 McBean 案件中,一名警員在嘗試搜查被告口袋前並沒有告之搜查原因,當被告反抗時,另一名警員以破壞社會安寧為由介入嘗試制服被告,被告不服並撞傷第二名警員。

在英國高等法院處理針對襲擊第二名警員這一定罪上訴時指出,如果警員以「有破壞社會安寧」為由介入時,必須要看他意圖防止的傷害是否非法傷害(unlawful harm)。如果警員面對的情況是有人以合理武力制止非法行為所產生的合法傷害,以「破壞社會安寧」介入並對其動武則是非法的,並不應被視作是在執行職務。

所以在 McBean 案中,法庭認為警員在不告知原因的情況下意圖搜身是非法的,所以被告是可以合法地使用合理武力拒絕如此的要求,在此情況下沒有任何基礎可以容許第二名警員以「破壞社會安寧」為由介入並動武。

從上述案件中可見,如果警員在行動時使用超過當時情況需要的武力,即屬非法,並不可被視作正在執行職務。法律上對於武力使用只有合法與非法之分,並沒有中間落墨的情況。一旦使用了非法武力,警員就不再是執行職務,並不會有一個警方執行職務時做了錯誤的判斷,放任使用非法武力執行職務的情況。

固然,在當時兵荒馬亂的情況下,警員情緒緊綳,也許不會跟你理性思考自身行為的尺度和合法性,但無論如何,謹記上述法律原則我相信也是有用的。

P.S. 我們期望警隊作為一支擁有槍支、作風優良的紀律部隊是要有紀律、對自身有要求,這不對嗎?

延伸:[刑法#07] 旺角騷亂判刑以及政府應作之舉

 

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