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Assault

– Section 31 of the Crimes Act 1958

 

Assault is used when the Police think you have assaulted someone with the intention of committing an indictable offence (like burglary or murder), or you assaulted a police officer or emergency worker.

Examples of Assault
  • An ambulance officer at a music festival tries to assist you, you push him in the chest and run away.
  • You punch someone while attempting to burgle their house.
What are some of the possible defences to an Assault charge?
  • You acted in self defence.
  • Somebody else committed the assault.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Were you defending yourself from a threat?
  • Could there be mistaken identity?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with Assault

The maximum penalty for this offence is level 6 imprisonment (5 years). This is reserved for the very worst example of this offence.

Assault is an indictable offence triable summarily. This means it will be heard in the County Court unless you agree to have it heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

“What was the reason for the fight?”
What is the legal definition of Assault?

The legal definition of assault is assaulting a person with the intention to commit an indictable offence, or assaulting a police officer or emergency worker.

Legislation

The section that covers this offence is section 31 of the Crimes Act 1958.1

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

A fair number of people get gaol terms for this offence so it is one you should take seriously. Like most offences it depends on the circumstances of the case.

Other Important Resources
Case Studies

 


[1] Crimes Act 1958 – Section 31

(1) A person who—
(a) assaults or threatens to assault another person with intent to commit an indictable offence; or
(b) assaults or threatens to assault, resists or intentionally obstructs an emergency worker on duty or a custodial officer on duty, knowing or being reckless as to whether the person was an emergency worker or a custodial officer; or
(ba) assaults or threatens to assault, resists or intentionally obstructs a person lawfully assisting an emergency worker on duty or a custodial officer on duty, knowing or being reckless as to whether the person was assisting an emergency worker or a custodial officer; or
(c) assaults or threatens to assault a person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detention of a person—
is guilty of an indictable offence.
Penalty: Level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum).
(2) In subsection (1), “assault” means the direct or indirect application of force by a person to the body of, or to clothing or equipment worn by, another person where the application of force is—
(a) without lawful excuse; and
(b) with intent to inflict or being reckless as to the infliction of bodily injury, pain, discomfort, damage, insult or deprivation of liberty—
and results in the infliction of any such consequence (whether or not the consequence inflicted is the consequence intended or foreseen).
(2A) In subsection (1)—
custodial officer on duty and custodial officer have the same meanings as in section 10AA of the Sentencing Act 1991 .
emergency worker on duty and emergency worker have the same meanings as in section 10AA of the Sentencing Act 1991 .
(3) In subsection (2)—
“application of force” includes—
(a) application of heat, light, electric current or any other form of energy; and
(b) application of matter in solid, liquid or gaseous form.