Downgrading Sexual Assault to Unlawful Assault

AssaultThis is a case that involves downgrading Sexual Assault to Unlawful Assault which ultimately resulted in a diversion.

Our client was initially charged with Sexual Assault following an allegation that he allegedly grabbed the complainant on his buttocks. The complainant made a statement to this effect.

The client was in his mid fifties and had no prior court history. He denied assaulting the complainant in the manner alleged in his statement.

Shaun Pascoe represented the client at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court.

The prosecution brief indicated that the episode had been captured on CCTV footage. As part of the case conferencing process, this footage was requested and subsequently viewed. The footage did not depict the offence alleged by the complainant, but did afford evidence of a low-level assault.

Negotiations continued and the prosecution agreed to withdraw the offence of Sexual Assault and substituted an offence of Unlawful Assault. A further application was made that our client be referred to diversion and the prosecution agreed to this course. It was subsequently approved at court with various conditions.

The effect of the diversion outcome was that our client was able to keep his good record intact. Submissions were made as to our client’s otherwise clean record and the fact that the offence was on the lowest end of the scale insofar as criminality was concerned.

Material demonstrating our client’s good character was also tendered to the court. It is noteworthy to add that a diversion outcome would have been unlikely if downgrading Sexual Assault to Unlawful Assault was not made possible. It was appropriate that the prosecution downgraded the charge as the complainant’s statement was simply not reflected in what the actual video footage showed.


Shaun PascoeShaun Pascoe

Shaun is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist and a partner of the firm. Shaun runs the Heidelberg branch of Doogue + George.

He is an experienced criminal law solicitor and works hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for his clients. Shaun handles indictable and summary criminal offences and is an expert at criminal defence for both contested and non-contested cases.

Visit Shaun's profile to read more about his background and experience.

DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 07/12/2017