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An Common Assault is any act (but not a failure to act) where a person intentionally or recklessly causes another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence.
An assault charge can still be laid even though violence didn’t occur. It can also include an actual fear of that violence which is the crux of the offence of assault.
Some examples of assault include:
Assaults are divided into different categories – “common assaults” and “aggravated assaults”. This article deals with common assault.
An offence of Common Assault is what is known as a “Table 1” offence under the relevant legislation, which means it is to be dealt with in the Local Court unless an election is it is to be dealt with on indictment by the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The Law in relation to Common Assault is found in section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). It states:
“Whoever assault any person, although not occasioning bodily harm, shall be liable to imprisonment for two years”
An assault is a Common Assault when it results in no injury, or in injuries that are not serious or require very little medical treatment.
Common assault can also include threats of violence, if the person making the threat has the ability to carry them out.
Since Common Assault is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.
The prosecution must prove the Accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of affray.
To establish Common Assault the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:
National Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending a number of Common Assault charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of Assault. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for Assault charges.
NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Assault:
If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the elements of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount. Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence.
Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.
Our Lawyers at National Criminal Lawyers work closely with you to ensure that we obtain all necessary paper work at increasing the chances of obtaining a non-conviction or section 10.
Common Assault can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 2 years or fines of up to $2,200.00.
Please note that the penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending and are unlikely to be the penalty you receive.
If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.
A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.
National Criminal Lawyers are experts at these hearings and can advise you on what the police must prove beyond reasonable doubt.
Some of the possible defences available for those charged with affray can include:
The Courts are not bound by statistics however there must be reasonable consistency in sentences. A Magistrate or Judge should have regard to what has been done in other cases. In Green  HCA 45, the plurity judgement of French CJ, Kiefel and Creennan JJ stated:
“Equal Justice” embodies the norm expressed in the terms “equality before the law”. It is an aspect of the rule of law.
For common assault offenders 41% received a Good Behaviour Bond.
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for an Assault charge.
However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalty’s will be replacing the above. They are as follows:
Our client was alleged to have pushed his wife over in the house during an argument on a Sunday morning allegedly while our client was sitting in a recliner chair.
There was some evidence of injury of the alleged victims shin however our client, a man with no criminal convictions was emphatic that there was an accident wherein his wife hit her shin on the recliner chair.
Our client was charged with domestic violence common assault.
Fortunately, our client was represented by our senior criminal lawyers at hearing and through meticulous cross examination and uses of photos and sketches as well as arguing the need to scrutinise evidence very carefully (especially in Domestic Violence Assault Allegations), it was held that our client did not intentionally push his wife and the injury happened exactly as it was proven to occur which was by his wife leaning over him and yelling at him.
The winning blow came with the question “when you say he pushed you was he sitting down”? and with the answer being “yes” allowed the NSW Local Court Magistrate to not hear a long closing argument.
Invariably a not guilty verdict was returned.
We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.
No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.
At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.
If you have been charged with any Common Assault offence our Team and National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.
Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.