Gold Coast & Brisbane Assault Offences Lawyers
Have you gotten into a fight to defend yourself, your property or someone else? Many of those charged with assault legitimately claim to have only done so because they felt they had no other option or felt directly threatened by another person. There are a range of defences available to persons charged with assault, but it takes a very experienced criminal lawyer to successfully raise any of these defences and defend your interests before a court. Before talking to police in the heat of the moment, the wisest course of action is to call Garde Wilson Lawyers and let us do the fighting for you.
Assault Offences in Queensland
Section 245 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) says that assault is committed by:
A person who strikes, touches, or moves, or otherwise applies force of any kind to, the person of another, either directly or indirectly, without the other person’s consent, or with the other person’s consent if the consent is obtained by fraud, or who by any bodily act or gesture attempts or threatens to apply force of any kind to the person of another without the other person’s consent under such circumstances that the person making the attempt or threat has actually or apparently a present ability to effect the person’s purpose.
Assault is unlawful where it is committed without a lawful justification or excuse (such as self-defence).
Common Assault refers to the unlawful application of force, or threatened application of force, without consent. A Common Assault charge may be used in circumstances where the other person has sustained only minor injuries wo where you have threatened to assault someone.
In Queensland, a common assault charge carries with it a maximum penalty of 3 years and is dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court.
According to Section 330(1) of the Criminal Code Act,
“Any person who unlawfully assaults another and thereby does the other person bodily harm is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years”.
Actions which might attract a charge of Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm include:
- Any application of force against another, from a gentle push, through to a closed fist strike or head butt, if the act causes an injury
- Slapping another person on the face, if it causes, for example, bruising or swelling
To convict you of an Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- you struck, touched or applied force to another
- you did so intentionally or recklessly
- you did so without consent or lawful excuse
- that action caused bodily harm to the other person (being more than a trifling injury but less than permanent damage).
A charge of Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm will be heard in the Magistrates Court, unless you ask to be tried before a jury in the District Court.
A charge of serious assault in Queensland can occur when you:
- assault someone if it is your intention to also commit another crime
- resist your arrest or detention, or that of someone else, by police
- assault, resist, or wilfully obstruct a police officer
- assault a person while they are performing a legal duty
- assault a person in order to commit an unlawful conspiracy
- assault someone who is 60 years or older, or
- assault a person who is disabled or who relies on a remedial device or guide or assistance dog.
The maximum penalty for serious assault in Queensland is 7 years imprisonment. However, this penalty may be raised to 14 years imprisonment if the offender bites or spits at a police officer, or in any way applies bodily fluid or faeces to the police officer.
The law demands the prosecution prove that the assault was ‘unlawful’. There are several defences to assault charges, which if successfully raised and argued, may prevent the prosecution from proving the assault was caused ‘unlawfully’, beyond reasonable doubt.
Defences in Queensland for Assault Offences include:
- Defence of another
- Extraordinary emergency
- Mistake of fact
- Prevention of the repetition of an insult
- Self defence
- Unwilled act
Successfully raising and arguing these defences before a court requires specialised knowledge of Queensland criminal law, and should not be attempted without expert legal representation.
Our firm focuses entirely on criminal law – it’s the only law we practice. You can be assured Garde Wilson Lawyers will formulate the best possible strategy for your defence and provide you the best chance of keeping your record clean and staying out of prison.