Criminal Offences

Indecent Assault

As per section 61L of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) indecent assault is a criminal offence and guilty individuals are subject to penalties enforced by the Court. The Act states that:

Any person who assaults another person and, and the time of, or immediately before or after, the assault, commits an act of indecency on or or in the the presence of the other person, is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

An indecent act is one which right-minded persons would consider to be contrary to community standards of decency. It is unnecessary for the prosecution to prove that there was sexual gratification.


As stated in section 61L of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), the maximum penalty for indecent assault is imprisonment for 5 years. However, this maximum penalty is only liable for individuals in which the matter is dealt with the District Court. Majority of indecent assault charges are generally heard in the Local Court, unless elected otherwise, and have a reduced maximum sentence. If found guilty in the Local Court, individuals will be subject to a maximum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment and/or 50 penalty units, equating to a fine of $5,500.

However, the Court also has the ability to impose less significant penalties where appropriate. This may take form of a reduced gaol term or non-custodial sentences such as community service and intensive correction orders. In some instances, upon consideration of the crime, personal circumstances and any past criminal history, the Court may use their discretion to deal with the matter by means of a section 10 dismissal, whereby no conviction will be recorded.

If you or someone you know is facing indecent assault charges, call our Sydney assault lawyers to organise a first consultation for tailored advice relating to the penalties that may be enforced.


To be found guilty of indecent assault charges as per section 61L of the Crimes Act 1900, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you assaulted the victim, and
  • The assault was indecent, and
  • And the assault was without the consent of the victim, and
  • The you knew the victim was no consenting, and you realised that there was a possibility the victim was not consenting but continued to commit the act anyway, or you did not even think about whether the victim was consenting or not.

If you tend to agree with the indecent assault charges made against you, you have the ability to plead guilty. If you choose to do so, you will then proceed to sentencing where it is likely you will be convicted and are potentially facing up to 5 years in gaol.

While a conviction of some sort is likely, typically a guilty plea results in an alternative penalty or lesser sentence as it demonstrates remorse for your actions. Whether the court decides to reduce the gaol term, or impose penalties such as community service or fines, these outcomes are generally much more favourable as opposed to being found guilty otherwise.

Our Sydney based assault lawyers may also be able to negotiate a deal with the prosecution team, given you enter a guilty plea. We work closely with all the clients we represent and provide honest advice if it is in your best interest to plead guilty or not guilty.

At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are some of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney who are proud to hold a 90% success rate on all criminal cases that we have represented. If you or someone you know is facing indecent assault charges, it is advised to seek legal representation immediately.

Call our assault lawyers now to schedule a first consultation where we can provide tailored advice in relation to your specific matter.


Alternatively, you have to option to plead not guilty. If you choose to do so, the case will proceed to trial in which the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did commit the offence as per section 61J of the Crimes Act 1900. If they are successful, you will be found guilty of indecent assault, in which you could be facing a maximum of 5 years in gaol.

However, at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are experienced assault lawyers in Sydney. In order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, we will aim to case doubt and disprove the evidence provided by the prosecution by using a relevant defence strategy.

If our criminal lawyers are successful, the Court may completely dismiss the charges of indecent assault, in which no penalties will apply. In other instances, our defence strategies only provide a partial offence, whereby charges will be downgraded and less severe penalties will be faced. Although, this is much more favourable than the maximum imprisonment term of 5 years if found guilty of indecent assault.

For relevant advice in relation to whether you should plead guilty or not guilty to indecent assault charges, please do not hesitate to contact our Sydney based criminal law firm for a first consultation.


As experienced assault lawyers in Sydney, our team may use any of the following defences to disprove the indecent assault charges made against you.

Duress: If it can be established that harmful threats such as death or grievous bodily harm was made against you in order for you to commit the offence of indecent assault, the defence of duress may be appropriate. This defence argues that as a result of the harmful threats, individuals have been coerced to participate in criminal activities that they would usually not have in order to protect themselves from the threats taking place.

Necessity: Often confused to duress, the defence of necessity aims to establish that an individual participated in unlawful activities in emergency situations in order to protect themselves from danger by either human or natural forces. Where appropriate, this defence must prove that the criminal act (i.e: indecent assault) only happened circumstances in which the accused was trying avoid consequences that are deemed as “irreparable evil”. The accused must also honestly believe that they were in a situation of “imminent peril” and had no other alternatives to avoid the threat.

Self Defence: Comprises of situations in which actions were taken to defend confrontations and harm by and unjust aggressor. Self defence occurs in circumstances in which the accused aims to protect property, themselves or another person from harm by the aggressor.

Mental Illness (Insanity Defence): Applies in situations where it can be proven that the accused was significantly mentally impaired and did not know that their actions are perceived as wrong. It must be proven that the actions were as the result of a disease of the mind in which the accused is not aware of the consequences of their actions.


Charges of indecent assault are classified as a table 2 offence. This means that the matter will be typically heard at a Local Court, unless elected otherwise by either yourself or the prosecution. If an election has been made, the matter will be dealt with in the District Court.

Known for numerous industry award wins and a 90% success rate on the criminal cases we have represented, Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders is home to some of Sydney’s best criminal defence lawyers. Our clients can be confident that our team is equipped to achieve the best possible outcome, regardless of the Court your matter is finalised in.

For more information, call our team for a first consultation.