Common assault can be charged by police whenever a person physically interferes with another person without their permission. This has to be done intentionally (you meant to do it) or recklessly, (you should have known that your actions would assault the person).
This offence is heard in the Local Court If you are found guilty and convicted, a Court has a range of sentencing options from fines of up to $2,200.00 to full-time imprisonment for up to 2 years or both.
Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm
Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm or AOABH is more serious than common assault and will generally require that the victim has some form of injury. This can be anything from bruising or red marks to more serious injuries like a broken bone or other injury.
This offence can be heard in the Local Court or on indictment in the District Court. Where the matter is heard depends on the seriousness of the offence, how the offence occurred and the criminal history of the accused person.
If you are found guilty and convicted in the Local Court you could be fined up to $5,500.00 or full-time imprisonment for up to 2 years or both. If you are sentenced by the District Court you could be fined up to $5,500.00 or full-time imprisonment for up to 5 year or both.
The offence of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm can be increased if two or more people are involved in carrying out the crime. This is considered an “aggravating” feature and increased the maximum penalties available to the court. If sentenced in the Local Court the penalties remain the same as above but the likelihood of maximum sentences may be increased. If sentenced by the District Court the maximum term of imprisonment is increased to up to 8 years.
Wounding or Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)
Offences of Wounding or Grievous Bodily Harm are ‘Strictly Indictable’ and must be finalised in the District Court or a Superior Court by Sentence or Trial. This offence occurs where the result of an assault is severe enough to wound the victim or cause ‘really serious injury’ to the victim.
Wounding occurs were both layers of the dermis (skin) are broken as what generally occurs in a stab wound, cut or laceration. Minor abrasions or scrapes are generally not serious enough to constitute a wounding as they would not generally penetrate the inner dermis.
Grievous Bodily Harm occurs where a victim suffers from permanent or really serious injury or disfigurement. This also includes transmission of a grievous bodily disease such as HIV or destruction of the foetus of a pregnant woman even if the woman does not suffer any harm herself (unless this is a medical procedure).
If found guilty and convicted the Court can set a maximum term of imprisonment of up to 25 years with a standard non-parole period of no less than 7 years.
Reckless Wounding or Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)
Offences of Reckless Wounding or Reckless Grievous Bodily Harm are indictable and can be dealt with either in the District Court or Local Court. These offences occur where the victim suffers an injury as above even if the accused person causes these recklessly but without intention to cause an injury.
Recklessness occurs where the accused person would have known that acting in a certain way could result in the injury occurring to the victim. An obvious example would be where a person is waving a knife with their eyes closed and a person happens to be cut. Even though the person waving the knife did not mean to hit a particular person, they should have known that somebody could be injured by their actions.
If found guilty and convicted of Reckless Grievous Bodily Harm the District Court can set a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years and the Local Court can set a term of imprisonment of up to 2 years and/or a fine of up to $11,000.00.
If found guilty and convicted of Reckless Wounding the District Court can set a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years and the Local Court can set a term of imprisonment of up to 2 years and/or a fine of up to $11,000.00.
Assault Occasioning Death when Intoxicated (One-Punch Laws)
The offence of Assault Causing Death when Intoxicated occurs if you are intoxicated, assault a person and that person dies as a result of the assault. The law indicated that a person is considered intoxicated with a blood alcohol reading of 0.150 grams of alcohol per 100 mL of blood which is equivalent to high-range drink driving or three (3) times the legal limit to drive.
If you are found guilty and convicted of Assault Causing Death when Intoxicated the Court must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of no less than 8 years imprisonment. This is a mandatory requirement put in place by the State Government.