As part of our ongoing quick guide series we are looking at various criminal charges in Queensland in more detail. Today we are looking at assault occasioning bodily harm mostly abbreviated to AOBH.
What is Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm?
The criminal code section 339 lists the offence as
Any person who unlawfully assaults another and thereby does the other person bodily harm is guilty of a crime
The definition of an assault is where a person strikes, touches, moves, or otherwise applies force of any kind to another person, directly or indirectly, without the other person’s consent or threatens to apply force of any kind to another provided that the person making the attempt or threat has the ability to carry it out.
Bodily harm means any injury that interferes with the complainant’s health or comfort.
How do Queensland police usually investigate this charge?
The police are usually called to investigate after receiving a complaint from the victim or witness. Generally the police will take a statement of the victim and any other person that witnessed the assault. They will then seek out any CCTV or other footage. Finally they will seek out the alleged defendant and see if they will make a statement (if you are asked to give a statement always seek legal advice before agreeing).
What do the police or DPP need to prove?
To successfully prosecute the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm the police or DPP must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that;
What court hears the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm?
The charge of assault occasioning bodily harm can be heard in the Magistrates court only if the defendant agrees, if they do not agree the charge must be heard in the District Court.
What defences to assault occasioning bodily harm exist?
A number of defences may be available to an assault charge these include;
The defences most often raised for an assault occasioning bodily harm charge is self defence, self defence of another or provocation.
Charge this charge be withdrawn or reduced?
It is possible to negotiate with the prosecutor over the charges. This is known as case conferencing Case and usually occurs once the police prosecutors brief (known as the QP9) is provided to the defendant or their lawyer. The QP9 will set out what the police prosecutor intends to tell the court happened. This includes the details of the alleged assault, what injury the victim has suffered and any reason why the assault may have occurred.
Some examples of successful case conferencing we have achieved are;
What are the potential penalties if pleading guilty or being found guilty?
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment or 10 years if the assault took place in company with another person or if the defendant was armed or pretended to be armed with a weapon.
The court has a wide variety of penalties it can impose for a person pleading guilty to or found guilty of an assault charge, the type of penalty the court might impose depends on the charge, the circumstance of the offending, the person’s previous criminal history and the injuries suffered by the victim. The types of penalties the court could impose includes;
In practise the court would rarely impose a penalty less than a fine. In most cases the penalties range from a fine to actual imprisonment. Of the 4,638 assault occasioning bodily harm charges heard in Queensland Magistrates court since October 2014 the results expressed as a percentage were;
|Good behaviour bond||3.6%|
As the statistics show in almost one third of cases a person is sentenced to a term of actual imprisonment.
Can Clarity Law help me?
Engaging Clarity Law gives you the best chance at obtaining avoiding a jail sentence or not having a conviction recorded. We appear every week in the courts with people charged with assault, it is this experience that allows us to get the best result for clients. Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do.
Do you have an office near me?
We appear in every court in south East Queensland between The Gold Coast and Bundaberg and out to Toowoomba and beyond. We also have a 5 star rating on Google and Facebook. We have offices at:
Level 3, 14-18 Duporth Avenue
Level 1, 16 McDougall Street
Level 15, 2 Corporate Court
Level 2, 3972 Pacific Highway
16 East Street
3/22-24 Strathwyn Street
Need more Information or legal help?
CALL: You can call us on 1300 952 255 - seven days a week
WEBSITE: Visit our website at www.claritylaw.com.au
Visiting our assault page at www.claritylaw.com.au/services/assault.html
The law provides that for certain offences committed where a person is intoxicated, when setting a penalty the court must impose some period of community service as part of that order. The changes were made with the Safe Night Out Legislation Amendment Bill in 2014. It provides that where a person is charged with an offence such as obstructing or assaulting police, or common assault where a person is intoxicated and in a public place then the court must make an order for community service ordering the offender perform unpaid community service unless they're convinced the person suffers from physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability. The maximum amount of community service that can be imposed is 240 hours, while the minimum amount that must be imposed is 40 hours.
A community service order requires that the Department of Corrective Services arrange with a person to conduct the community service work within a set period, generally 12 months. This type of work is tailored as much as possible to the person doing the community service work, and the area in which they reside. The other requirements of the community service order include the person must not commit another offence during the period of the order, must generally report to an authorised Corrective Services officer within one to two business days of the order being made and must perform in a satisfactory way the community service order as directed by an authorised Corrective Services officer.
The other requirements are that the person must comply with every reasonable direction of an authorised Corrective Services officer, must not leave or stay out of the state without the permission of that Corrective Services officer, and they must notify of any change in their place of residence or employment within two business days.
Where a person is facing the possibility of a community service order and does suffer from any medical problem that might prevent them from doing that order, it's important that those medical documents are brought before the court before they sentence that person.
The types of offences that are now included within the mandatory community service order include;
· grievous bodily harm
· common assault
· assault occasioning bodily harm
· serious assault
· assault or obstruction of police.
As noted above the mandatory periods of community service only applies where the offence has taken place in a public place, and while the person as adversely affected by an intoxicating substance. That intoxicating substance could be alcohol or a drug.
If you need any additional information you can contact clarity law on 1300 952 255 or visit our website at www.claritylaw.com.au. We appear in all South East Queensland courts assisting people charged with criminal offences, if you need a criminal lawyer please give us a call to discuss your charges.
This article provides general information and does not constitute legal advice. The law may have changed since this article was written. Always obtain legal advice when you are charged with a criminal offence.
Assault is defined as forceful contact or threatening forceful contact with a person. Depending on the severity of circumstances and injuries will determine the degree of assault you are charged with.
The different types of assault charges in Queensland are as follows, in order of most minor to most severe:
A Common assault is the lowest of the possible assault charges and can come about from anything as minor as a bodily gesture, poking, nudging or touching someone, and even just threatening to do such acts.
Assault occasioning bodily harm
An assault occasioning bodily harm charge occurs when the victim suffers injuries interfering with their health or comfort. Penalties for this charge are increased if there is a statement that the Defendant had a weapon or is in the company of another person.
Assault causing Grievous Bodily Harm
An assault causing grievous bodily harm charge occurs when a person is left permanently injured, scarred or impaired as a result of the assault.
Serious assault (any charge of assaulting a Police officer will automatically come under this charge also)
Serious assault charges occur when the assault is on a person over the age of 60 or is handicapped or dependant on a remedial device. If an assault is on a Police officer is serious it will automatically be placed under this degree of assault. If biting, spitting or any bodily fluid is involved the penalty can be doubled, resulting in a possible maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.
A Sexual assault charge is a result of any unwanted or forced sexual advancement or behaviour towards a person.
When you are charged with any form of assault charge it is extremely important to seek legal representation immediately. Assault charges more than ever are treated very seriously by the courts and can easily result in jail time.
Here at Clarity Law we represent clients in all degrees of assault charges in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients. We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice. If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;
For more information visit our webpage or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week
Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. Its represents information about the law in Queensland and since publishing the law or the interpretation of that law may have changed.