Last updated 25 August 2016

Police may detain a person suspected of or charged with having committed an indictable offence for a reasonable time, but not for more than eight hours for the purposes of investigation or questioning (s 403 Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld) (PPR Act)). The eight-hour detention period must not involve more than four hours of actual police questioning, with the remainder of the time being for ‘time out’ (s 403(4) PPR Act), which is defined in sch 6 of the PPR Act to include the reasonable time taken to contact a relative, friend or lawyer, and the reasonable time taken for that person to travel to the police station.

Police may apply to a magistrate or in certain circumstances a justice of the peace for the detention period to be extended (s 405 PPR Act). Before doing so, the magistrate must be satisfied that further detention is necessary:

  • due to the nature and seriousness of the offence
  • to preserve or obtain evidence
  • to continue questioning or to complete the investigation (s 406 PPR Act).

In addition, the magistrate must be satisfied that the investigation is being properly conducted without unreasonable delay, and that the detained person or their lawyer has had an opportunity to make submissions regarding the application for the extension.

False imprisonment

To detain a person other than by lawful arrest or detention may amount to false imprisonment. A person who has been falsely imprisoned may be able to sue for damages.