The law says that a person who:
to another, either:
without that person’s consent has assaulted that person.
Any person who:
is guilty of a crime.
The distinguishing factor between:
is whether the assault resulted in “bodily harm” to the victim.
The maximum penalty for a charge of this nature is 7 years imprisonment.
The penalty an offender actually receives is dependent on many factors and circumstances.
These factors will be:
Further, if the offender does bodily harm and:
the maximum penalty increases to 10 years imprisonment.
Magistrates Court sentencing statistics show common penalties for offences of this nature. Over the last 5 years, around:
Imprisonment for Violence Offences
The Penalties and Sentences Act is a governing body of legislation that:
The sentencing guidelines for which the Court is to have regard to are set out in Section 9. The guidelines state that the Court should only impose imprisonment as a last resort.
This principle does not apply if the offence resulted in physical harm to another person.
Heard in The Magistrates or District Court
Assault occasioning bodily harm is an indictable offence.
The Magistrates Court may hear it summarily if the Defendant is pleading guilty.
If an offender pleads:
the prosecution will prepare an indictment to the District Court.
The charge will then proceed in the District Court.
The Criminal Code defines the words “bodily harm” to include:
“any bodily injury which interferes with health or comfort.”
Case law has assisted the Courts in clarifying this definition. The case of R v Scatchard (1987) 29 A Crim R 136 noted that:
“while bodily injury can cause the sensation of pain, a sensation of pain does not of itself and without more require one to say that there has been a bodily injury”.
That is to say, “pain” at the time is not enough to make out the offence, there must be some lasting effect from the injury.
Accepted injuries that constitute bodily harm by the Courts include:
If the police have charged you with this offence, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Alternative to The More Serious Charge of Grievous Bodily Harm
The injury sustained must fall short of something that leads to:
as otherwise, the police may charge the offence as “grievous bodily harm”.
Downgrading to Common Assault
The prosecution must prove that the assault caused the victim a bodily injury. If they are not able to do this, you may have some prospects of success at negotiating the charge to a “common assault”. Common assault is less serious and carries less severe consequences.
Engaging a lawyer to appear with you in Court can avoid surprises and help you to know what will happen on the day.
If you would like to discuss your circumstances with a criminal lawyer, feel free to give us a call.
Aitken Whyte Lawyers can assist you with all criminal matters.
If you would like to:
call us on 07 5408 0655 .
Aitken Whyte Lawyers
11/8 Pikki Street,
Maroochydore Qld 4558
Ph: +617 5408 0655
Fax: +617 3211 9311