What’s the Penalties and Defences for an Assault Charge in NSW?

 

A footage has emerged depicting an altercation involving 3 police officer’s and an indigenous 17-year-old boy.

17-year-old Quinton Avery, who is currently studying at TAFE, says he was left with injuries, including a bruised jaw and bleeding lip.

Quinton said, “I went straight home to my aunty’s where I’m staying, and then my cousin Tanah took me straight to the police station”.

When the two approached the police station after midnight, Quinton says that a police officer who was involved in the earlier altercation had locked the door.

He said, “I could see the fella who hit me though the door. I think he went to hide”.

 

The Alleged Altercation Between Quinton and Police Officers

Luckily, Daniel Roberts known to be Quinton’s cousin was recording the altercation with his phone from the other side of the road when the officers had allegedly approached Quinton.

It is reported that when Quinton was walking home on a main Street in the Northern Rivers town of Casino, NSW, he was on his phone talking to his mum just after midnight when a police vehicle conducted a U-turn and approached alongside him after initially passing him on Centre Street.

The footage allegedly shows Quinton being surrounded by 3 police officers before capturing the moment that the 17-year old is punched in the face by one of the police officers, which reports are describing as an unprovoked attack.

It is reported that he told 7NEWS that, “I asked them what they wanted. They yelled out, ‘where you going?’, then they jumped out and wanted to search me”.

“I said to the copers ‘don’t touch me, I’m just walking home’, but he punched me straight in the face.”

“They can’t go round hitting people who are just walking home.”

What’s the Penalties and Defences for an Assault Charge in NSW?

Assault under the law includes ‘common assault’, ‘assault occasioning actual bodily harm’, ‘assault occasioning grievous bodily harm or wounding’, and ‘murder’.

The penalties for common assault in NSW goes up to 2-years imprisonment and/or $5,500 fine under section 61 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Common assault is when you commit an act against someone else, intentionally or recklessly causing the other person fear of immediate and unlawful violence or physical harm.

Examples of common assault include slapping, pushing or without any physical contact if your conduct causes the victim to fear immediate and unlawful violence or physical harm.

Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) carries a maximum penalty of 5-years imprisonment if it ends up being finalised by way of sentence in the District Court, but 2-years imprisonment and/or $5,500 fine if dealt with in the Local Court (which is where it is normally heard). This is outlined in section 59 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Actual bodily harm assault occurs if you do something to recklessly or intentionally cause ‘actual bodily harm’ to a person.

Examples of actual bodily harm include causing blood or bruising. Actual bodily harm injury is the type of injury that although isn’t necessarily permanent injury but is more than merely transient or trifling.

A grievous bodily harm (GBH) or wounding assault carries a maximum punishment of between 7-years imprisonment to 14-years imprisonment. The maximum penalty varies because it depends on the type of GBH or wounding charge one is faced with under section 35 and 33 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Examples of GBH or wounding includes ‘really serious injury’. In the case of GBH, this can mean permanent or serious disfiguring, a sexually transmitted disease (i.e. HIV infection) or broken bones. In the case of wounding, this can mean broken skin, such as a split lip.

GBH or wounding assaults are taken by the law to be so serious that depending on the type of this charge, it carries varying standard non-parole periods from 3 years to 7 years. This represents the minimum period of full-time custody required to be spent behind bars before being eligible for release on parole into society if the case is considered to fall in the mid-range of objective seriousness for offences of this type.

The standard non-parole period is not imposed as a mandatory requirement by Judges in court. Its use is to serve the courts with a guide at reaching a fair and appropriate penalty to a convicted offender.

Murder in NSW is considered the most heinous crimes. It carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment under section 18 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

The crimes of murder in NSW carries a 20-year standard non-parole period.

Defences to an assault charge in NSW include, self-defence, involuntary actions, lawful arrest with reasonable force, and lawful correction of your child.

One of the most common defences to assault include self-defence. This is argued where you respond to the alleged victim’s actions out of fear to protect yourself, provided your response was a reasonable response to the circumstances you perceived to be at the time.

Once you raise self-defence in court, it will be up to the prosecution to negate it beyond reasonable doubt.

For more details of self-defence and how it works, call our office 24/7 to speak to a criminal lawyer from Sydney today.

Our team of lawyers specialise in criminal law and offer a free first consultation.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Australia's Leading Criminal Defence Lawyers, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Courts.

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