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Some things you need to know about assaultsAssault can be an element of other offences. For example section 112 of the Crimes Act 1900 NSW provides for the offence of break enter and commit serious indictable offence. The serious indictable offence may be an assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Common assault on the other hand, is a minor indictable offence. Sometimes police will get this wrong. The way in which assaults are classified are complicated but very important. From the degree to which intent is necessary, whether alcohol can be taken into account and the way in which the courts deal with assaults, you will need competent legal representation to ensure that you understand all your rights and choices.
Some types of assaultAn assault can range from no physical contact at all to murder!
- Common Assault- By intentionally or recklessly causing somebody to fear being assaulted, by making a threat for example, a person can be guilty of an assault. Other common assaults will include unlawful physical contact against another person that does not cause an injury amounting to actually bodily harm or other more serious.
- Common assault is provided for in section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 The offence carries a maximum of 2 years imprisonment. This is a minor indictable offence and is dealt with summarily in the local court.
- Assault occasioning actual bodily harm ( A.O.A.B.H.)- This is an assault where there is a visible injury, for example a bruise or a scratch. The injury has to be more than transient or trifling. A good example of this is a red mark from a slap. Sometimes police will charge a person with this offence when the injury does not amount to actual bodily harm. A.O.A.B.H also includes psychiatric injury that is more than merely emotions, fear or
- AOABH is provided for in section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900 NSW and carries a maximum of 5 years imprisonment. If the assault is committed in the company of another individual then the offence carries 7 years. The offence is a serious indictable offence that can be dealt with in the local court if no party elects
- Malicious wounding – This is an assault where the injury involved has caused a breaking of both layers of the skin, the exterior (epidermis) and interior (dermis). Often this is an offence that involves a knife or other sharp instrument in the assault but not always.
- Reckless wounding is found in section 35(4) of the Crimes Act 1900 It is a serious indictable offence that can be dealt with in the local court if no party elects otherwise. The offence however, is incorporated in many grievous bodily harm offences, for example, section 33(1)(a) provides for an offence for specifically intending to wound. This offence is strictly indictable and can only be dealt with in the district court.
- Assault occasioning grievous bodily harm- This is a serious assault resulting in a really serious This injury is defined pursuant to section 4 of the Crimes Act 1900 NSW as being an injury that is a permanent or serious disfigurement of the person. It can however, include a temporary effect. The injury also includes any infliction of a disease or harm to a pregnant woman causing the loss of a foetus. The extent of the injury amounting to grievous bodily harm can often be a cause for contention and it is easy to see how a wound and an injury amounting to grievous bodily harm can overlap.
- This offence appears in a number of sections of the Crimes Act including section 33, 35, 54, 58 and 60. The penalties vary from 2 years to 25 years imprisonment. The difference in penalty often reflects whether the injury was occasioned through negligence, recklessness or a specific