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Assault Charges

You may not realise that a fight or violent confrontation can have very serious impacts. Although the incident itself does not appear to be serious the consequences can be. Fisher Dore Lawyers has specially trained lawyers who can provide you with urgent and comprehensive advice in relation to possible defences to all the charges relating to assaults.


Assault Definition

Section 245 of the Criminal Code (Qld) defines assault as follows:-

  1. the striking, touching, moving of, or application of force of any kind to the person of another;
  2. either directly or indirectly;
  3. without the other person’s consent or with consent, if the consent is obtained by fraud;

or

  1. by any bodily act or gesture;
  2. attempting or threatening to apply force of any kind to the person of another;
  3. without the other person’s consent;
  4. in circumstances where the person making the attempt or threat has, actually or apparently, a present ability to effect that purpose.

Thus, the definition can be satisfied through threatened or attempted application of force regardless of whether actual physical force has been applied.



Common Assault

Pursuant to section 335(1) of the Criminal Code, any person who unlawfully assaults another is guilty of a misdemeanour. The maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment.

As consent is an element of the offence, a person cannot be liable for assaulting another, where the victim has consented to the assault. However, the defence will not be available where excessive force has been used. Depending on the circumstances, other defences may be available to you to justify or excuse the assault at law. Self-defence and provocation are two of the most commonly available defences.

A person charged with Common Assault will have their matter finalised in the Magistrates Court.


Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm (AOBH)

Any person who unlawfully assaults another and causes bodily harm is guilty of a crime. The maximum penalty for an AOBH is 7 years imprisonment.

The mere sensation of pain is insufficient to constitute the bodily harm element of the offence. The law requires an identifiable bodily injury.

As consent is an element of the offence, a person cannot be liable for assaulting another, where the victim has consented to the assault. However, the defence will not be available where excessive force has been used.

Depending on the circumstances, other defences may be available to you to justify or excuse the assault at law. Self-defence and provocation are two of the most commonly available defences.

The offence of Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm can be finalised in the Magistrates Court or the District Court and a person charged with the offence has the election as to which Court the matter will be finalised.

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Serious Assaults

The offence of Serious Assault is taken extremely seriously by the Courts to the point where if you are convicted of an offence of Serious Assault you run a significant risk of being sentenced to a term of actual imprisonment. A Serious Assault constitutes any of the following:-

  1. An assault upon a Police Officer;
  2. An assault upon any person while that person is performing a duty imposed on the person by law;
  3. An unlawful assault upon a person who is 60 years of age or more;
  4. Or an assault upon any person who relies on a Guide, Hearing or Assistance Dog, wheelchair or other remediable device.

The maximum penalty for this type of offence ranges between 7 years to 14 years imprisonment depending on the nature of the assault. A charge of Serious Assault can be finalised in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court and it is the Prosecution who has the election as to which Court the matter will be finalised.

Given the severity of the sentences imposed for Serious Assault should you find yourself charged with Serious Assault please contact Fisher Dore Lawyers.


Sexual Offences

There are a variety of offences that have a sexual connotation. The sentencing and evidentiary proceedings for these matters are different to almost all other criminal offences. Sexual offences can be complex matters and the court attempts to deal with them as quickly as possible, particularly if children are involved.

Serious penalties apply for offences that are of a sexual nature. Further, there are consequences that can be imposed upon conviction that even if you avoid a jail term, you are still subject that require you to fulfil certain obligations under the Child Protection legislation.

Definition of Consent s348 Criminal Code

Consent is one of the key elements in the majority of sex offences. Consent simply means consent freely and voluntarily given by a person with the cognitive capacity to give the consent.

A person’s consent to an act is not freely and voluntarily given if it is obtained—

  1. by force; or
  2. by threat or intimidation; or
  3. by fear of bodily harm; or
  4. by exercise of authority; or
  5. by false and fraudulent representations about the nature or purpose of the act; or
  6. by a mistaken belief induced by the accused person that the accused person was the person’s sexual partner.


Sexual assault

Any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults another person or procures another person without the person’s consent to commit an act of gross indecency or to witness an act of gross indecency by the person or any other person is guilty of a crime.

The maximum penalty for the crime of Sexual Assault is 10 years imprisonment however this can rise to 14 years and even Life imprisonment in certain circumstances.

The crime of Sexual Assault is treated very seriously be the Courts and can be finalised in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court.


Indecent Treatment of children under 16

One of the most common offences that comes before the Courts is the offence of Indecent Treatment of a child under 16. The offence incorporates the following types of behaviour:-

  1. unlawfully and indecently dealing with a child under the age of 16 years; or
  2. unlawfully procuring a child under the age of 16 years to commit an indecent act; or
  3. unlawfully permitting oneself to be indecently dealt with by a child under the age of 16 years; or
  4. wilfully and unlawfully exposing a child under the age of 16 years to an indecent act by the offender or any other person; or
  5. without legitimate reason, wilfully exposing a child under the age of 16 years to any indecent object or any indecent film, videotape, audiotape, picture, photograph or printed or written matter; or
  6. without legitimate reason, taking any indecent photograph or records, by means of any device, any indecent visual image of a child under the age of 16 years;

Indecent is that which offends against currently accepted standards of decency and must always be judged in the light of time, place and circumstance. The term “deals with” means “to have to do with”, “to act towards” or “to treat” and is capable of a wide application.

The maximum penalties for this type of offence range from 14 years imprisonment to 20 years imprisonment depending on the age of the child.

Under section 9 of the Penalties and Sentences Act (QLD) should you be convicted of this offence you must be sentenced to a term of actual imprisonment unless exceptional circumstances can be shown. A conviction for this type of offence will also render a person with reporting obligations under the Child Protection legislation.

This offence is usually finalised in the District Court however there are some circumstances in which the matter can be finalised in the Magistrates Court. Fisher Dore Lawyers has a wealth of experience in dealing with these types of matters and it is imperative that should you be investigated in relation to or charged with this type of offence that you contact one of our offices urgently.


Carnal knowledge with or of children under 16

Any person who has or attempts to have unlawful carnal knowledge with or of a child under the age of 16 years is guilty of an indictable offence.

If the child is of or above the age of 12 years, the offender is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years. If the child is under the age of 12 years, the offender is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for life or, in the case of an attempt to have unlawful carnal knowledge, to imprisonment for 14 years.

Under section 9 of the Penalties and Sentences Act (QLD) should you be convicted of this offence you must be sentenced to a term of actual imprisonment unless exceptional circumstances can be shown. A conviction for this type of offence will also render a person with reporting obligations under the Child Protection legislation.

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