An assault occurs when a person either physically interferes with another person or makes another person reasonably think that they will be interfered with. There are many different charges for different types of assault, each applying to different degrees of seriousness. You can even be charged with an assault if you act recklessly where you did not intend to assault the person but you ought to have known that a person could be assaulted by your actions.
Common Assault is dealt with under Section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900. It can be heard in the Local Court or under indictment in the District Court. A common assault occurs when a person is physically struck or interfered with by another person and there is minimal damage done or minimal medical attention required. A common assault can be committed with a hand, fist, any other part of the body or a handheld implement. It can also occur where a person has a reasonable apprehension that they will be assaulted, for example, where someone raises a hand or fist to another person.
If you are found guilty of Common Assault, it can be dealt with by the court in a number of ways, the most serious being a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and the least serious being a Section 10. All of these outcomes will result in a criminal record, however, a Section 10 will not record a conviction against your name.
ASSAULT OCCASIONING ACTUAL BODILY HARM
Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (‘ABH’) is dealt with under Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900. It can be heard in the Local Court or under indictment in the District Court. ABH is more serious than Common Assault and is generally a common assault that results in more serious injuries that may require proper medical attention. In general, the DPP or Police must prove that the accused person intended to cause these serious injuries, however, a conviction can also be reached if the accused recklessly caused these injuries, for example, by assaulting someone so badly that it caused ABH even if they didn’t mean to.
If you are found guilty of ABH, it can be dealt with by the court in a number of ways, the most serious being a maximum of 5 years imprisonment in the District Court and the least serious being a Section 10.
WOUNDING OR GRIEVOUS BODILY HARM WITH INTENT
Wounding or Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent (‘GBH’) is dealt with under Section 33 of the Crimes Act 1900. This is a strictly indictable offence, meaning it must be heard in the District Court or higher. After a serious assault takes place, a person may suffer wounding or GBH as a result of injuries from the assault.
Wounding is caused when both the outer and inner layers of the skin are broken for example by stabbing, cutting or laceration. Minor abrasions or scrapes would not generally constitute a wound as they would not pierce the inner layer of the skin.
GBH is caused when a person causes any permanent or serious disfiguring or a person, inflicts a grievous bodily disease on a person or caused the destruction of the foetus of a pregnant woman (unless it is a medical procedure) even if the pregnant woman does not suffer any harm.
If you are found guilty of Wounding or GBH with Intent, it can be dealt with by the court in a number of ways, the offence carries a maximum term of 25 years imprisonment.
RECKLESS GRIEVOUS BODILY HARM OR WOUNDING
Reckless Grievous Bodily Harm (‘GBH’) or Wounding is dealt with under Section 35 of the Crimes Act 1900. It can be heard in the Local Court or under indictment in the District Court. Reckless GBH or Wounding can come about when a person causes GBH or a Wound to a person even without intending to, as a result of causing Actual Bodily Harm to that person.
The law does not specifically define the term ‘reckless’, however, the courts take the general view that where a person is reckless, it is reasonable that they should have known that their actions would result in a wounding or GBH of the other person, whether they meant for it to happen or not.
If you are found guilty of Reckless GBH, it can be dealt with by the court by way of a maximum of 10 years imprisonment in the District Court and 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and/or a fine of up to $11,000.
If you are found guilty of Reckless Wounding, it can be dealt with by way of a maximum of 7 years imprisonment in the District Court and 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and/or a fine of up to $11,000.
ASSAULT CAUSING DEATH WHEN INTOXICATED (ONE PUNCH LAWS)
Assault Causing Death when Intoxicated is dealt with under Section 25B of the Crimes Act 1900. This occurs if you are intoxicated, assault a person and that person dies as a result of the assault. The law indicates that a person can be considered intoxicated with 0.15 grams of alcohol per 100 mL of blood which is equivalent to high range drink driving.
If you are found guilty of Assault Causing Death when Intoxicated the court must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of no less than 8 years imprisonment.