Please be ready with your application reference number starting with 'P'. For example P1234567
Maintaining the sanctity of life and the dignity of every human means sniffing out any potential threats to them. All threats or portents of malicious acts are Assaults.
An assault is hardly a "simple" offence in Australia. Although the court may in many cases treat it as a summary offence, it could be an indictable offence.
The Court considers plenty of factors in pronouncing an accused person or group guilty or free of an assault. And the Criminal codes of the various States have legislations that term the type and nature of an assault.
How does the court determine if there is a case of an assault? Or the degree to which the offence is perpetuated? And what punishments does the law pronounce for the individual?
A court finds an assault against a person if they;
If there is proof of any of these, the accused is pronounced to have assaulted the subject. The Prosecutor must prove to the court with evidence, witness or even proof of injury (medicals) that their client (sufferer) was assaulted.
If a person or group of people assaults you in Australia, you should seek an experienced lawyer to get justice, or in most cases “damages” paid to you.
However, Assaults may come in various forms depending on the state, place or environment where the event happens.
These are divided into five main categories under the Australian and Commonwealth laws. More so, some states may also update their legislations on Assaults and have additional categories.
These are the “commonest” types of assault handled in the Australian courts. The charge for a common assault can range from a simple scuffle to a fully pronounced threat. However, the more intense and serious the scenario or threat the likelier the person gets a conviction that will also appear on their police check.
Here are some of the examples of a simple assault;
The Penalty for a common Assault can vary across the States in Australia. The court will decide the offender's punishments depending on;
The maximum penalty for this kind of offence is an 18 months imprisonment term and a fine of $18 000. However, if the offence follows a sequence of events and borders on aggravation, the maximum penalty term rises to 3 years with a fine of $36 000.
As the name suggests, there needs to be proof that the offence has caused the sufferer "serious" bodily harm. Mostly, the court will request a medical report on the injury or some proof that the harm led to time-of-work or partial or total invalidation.
If the accused used a weapon or threatened/attempted to use it, the charge can be updated to an aggravated assault.
Some examples include;
Depending on the severity of the case, it is either handled in a Magistrate or district court.
For minor cases handled in a Magistrate court, the attacker/accused may get a maximum imprisonment term of 2 years and a fine of $24000. However, if the offence was a case of aggravation, the term may increase to 3 years, and a fine of $36 000
For serious cases handled in a District Court, the maximum penalty for offenders is 5 years imprisonment. However, this can increase to 7 years for aggravation cases.
In some cases of assault, the sufferer may have to deal with bleeding and severe bruising. It includes penetrating the outer skin, bleeding, and so on. However, if the offence does not lead to bleeding or penetration to the outer skin, it cannot be classified as unlawful wounding.
When handling such a case, the court will request medical proof of bleeding or injury from the assault.
The assault is "upgraded" if a weapon is used to commit the offence.
Most cases of unlawful wounding are handled in the District Court and can attract punishments of up to 7 years.
Offences related to this form of assault are grave and handled in a district court. Grievous bodily harm occurs when the actions of the accused cause the sufferer to;
The Prosecution counsel must prove to the District Court that their client was grievously assaulted usually with a Doctor's or Physio report.
Convictions in such an offence carry a maximum penalty term of 10 years. However, the maximum penalty term can increase to up to 14 years if the accused commits the offence while;
If the court finds the accused guilty of the offence, it will mostly order a jail term.
The court considers a serious assault as one against a public or Police officer in the line of duty. Any of the following public officers during an assault are;
This offence can take various forms depending on the event, and degree such as;
Furthermore, this charge covers all assaults against certain vulnerable people of the society like;
The maximum penalty for a serious assault is a 7 years imprisonment term, and 14 years term for intentional assault against a Police officer.s
In States like Queensland (QLD), assaults involving spitting on a Police officer are punished severely and will always show up on a person's criminal history check in QLD. The offender may take some ameliorating steps such as;
All actions under gross sexual indecencies; in public or private places are classified as sexual assaults. The actions that fall under this offence are;
Forceful sexual intercourse or penetration or rape is the highest form of sexual assault and usually attracts grave punishments.
Most Sexual assault cases are heard in a district court and attract a penalty of up to 14 years. In cases where a weapon is used to humiliate, threaten or further assault the sufferer, the court may order an extended imprisonment term.
In general, the penalties for assault charges depend on the nature of the offence, degree of injury and criminal history of the offender.
The court can also order the following punishment in addition/instead of the sentencing term;
If you are served an Assault offence, you must be present in court with a legal rep to answer your assault case. It does not matter the type or category. Non-appearance in court or not having a legal representative can lead to further punitive measures.
The court treats all forms of Assault seriously, especially in aggravated cases or repeat offenders.
Before pleading guilty to an assault offence, you should exhaust all possible options with your lawyers. Although the court may consider your ready admission of guilt, it still treats assault cases with all severity.
However, if you feel the defence is irrefutable and your legal team believes you stand no chance, pleading guilty may earn you a lesser action from the jury.
In most cases, except in an utmost state of compunction, pleading guilty does no good, and will stain your police background check results.
Depending on the seriousness of the charge, the offender may get a bond, fine, a correction order or gaol. And the court may not register a conviction against your name on the police criminal records. However, it depends on the degree, nature or prior history of the offender
Your legal team will precisely determine which offences you plead guilty to. Mostly, the Police or Prosecutor will lump additional or related charges to your original charge of assault.
Your lawyer will make sure you only plead guilty to the appropriate charges and make sure to withdraw others
Other factors can also ensure you receive lesser sentences when you plead guilty.
With a strong defence and refute to every case from the prosecution team, you can successfully win a not guilty plea. If the prosecution team cannot provide satisfactory evidence of an assault case, the court will dismiss the case.
Also, your legal team in communication with the prosecution can have the matter withdrawn. at an early stage.
You should plead for a not guilty case
if you can;
Threats to seriously injure, kill or destroy another person's property are considered seriously in the court. However, the threat must create fear, and in most cases, the prosecution will prove that the attacker has the capabilities for such.
Threats to kill, Rape, Molest, Injure can attract prison terms of up to 10 years.
The general state criminal codes outline that actions and defences of assaults must be proportional to the crime and not excessive.
If the protection or guarding of private property against trespassers results in their death, the court may strike out the "defence from assault” plea. And can enter a manslaughter or Murder charge.
Don't take the risk of "self-representing" to answer an assault charge; the likelihood of a jail term is too high. The police lumps assault charges with many other irrelevant charges that only a law expert can solve.
Furthermore, having an Assault conviction can be detrimental to your prospects as it will reflect on your police record check in Australia.
Assault convictions are one of the numerous convictions in a Disclosable Court outcome.
When applying for any of the following, you will need to submit a valid Police Check Australia as part of the requirement;
A nationally coordinated criminal history check (NCCHC) contains the updated convictions records of the candidate following the State's legislation. It is issued by comparing the candidate's data with the Australian criminal database.
All agencies and organisations within Australia apply independent means of interpreting a criminal history check result.
For roles such as Child care, aged/vulnerable care services, checks for aged care workers, Public drivers, and related roles, a sexual assault or similar may affect your chances of getting the roles.
With records of assault in corporate spaces, an organisation may refuse admission into their space.
In addition to using a Police Check as an application requirement, some persons may want to confirm the convictions on their own Police records. Any candidate can apply through Australian National Character Check.
Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) - https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1900-040
Criminal Code 2002 (ACT) - https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2002-51/
Criminal Code Act 1899 (QLD) - https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/current/act-1899-009
Crimes Act 1958 (VIC) - https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/in-force/acts/crimes-act-1958/294
Criminal Code 1913 (WA) - https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_218_homepage.html
Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) - https://legislation.nt.gov.au/en/Legislation/CRIMINAL-CODE-ACT-1983
Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) - https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/LZ/C/A/CRIMINAL%20LAW%20CONSOLIDATION%20ACT%201935.aspx
Police Offences Act 1935 (TAS) - https://www.legislation.tas.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1935-044
Criminal Code Act 1924 (TAS) - https://www.legislation.tas.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1924-069
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