Section 59 of Crimes Act states:
Whosoever assaults any person, and thereby occasions actual bodily harm, shall be liable to imprisonment for five years.

A person is guilty of an offence under this subsection if the person commits an offence under subsection (1) in the company of another person or persons. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

What is Actual Bodily Harm?

Actual bodily harm means:

“Any hurt or injury calculated to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim, but such hurt or injury need not be permanent but must be more than merely transient and trifling”

If you are charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm your matter will be dealt with in the Local Court unless an election is made for trial on indictment. If an election is made, your matter will be dealt with in the District Court.

In the Local Court the maximum penalties are as follows:

  1. A term of imprisonment of up to 2 years; or
  2. A fine of up to $5500.00 or both.

You can avoid a criminal conviction, a term of imprisonment and or a fine if the Magistrate is persuaded to deal with your matter pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing & Procedure) Act 1999. It is rare though for a Magistrate to deal with this type of offence by way of section 10.

Statistics show 90% of people who plead guilty or are found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm do receive a criminal conviction and 16% of those people are then sentenced to full time imprisonment. This is a reflection of how serious the Courts view this offence.

Defences

Possible defences to the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm are:

  1. Self Defence/ Defence of another or Defence of property;
  2. Duress;
  3. Necessity;
  4. It was not you (wrongful identification).

If you are charged with a serious offence like assault occasioning actual bodily harm you need an experienced Criminal Lawyer. At Benjamin & Leonardo only a Partner of the firm will be assigned your case to ensure you receive the best representation.

Please contact Benjamin & Leonardo Criminal Defence Lawyers for your FREE conference.

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