Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm

Our experienced criminal law solicitors have prepared a brief overview of the law relating to assaults occasioning bodily harm.

If you or someone you care about is facing a charge of assaults occasioning bodily harm, you need specific advice and should contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on 55800120 for advice.

Assaults Occasioning Bodily Harm – The Law

Section 339 of the Criminal Code of Queensland creates the offence of assaults occasioning bodily harm.  The section provides:

Any person who unlawfully assaults another and thereby does the other person bodily harm is guilty of a crime.

Elements of the offence

To be found guilty of the offence of assaults occasioning bodily harm, the prosecution is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements:

  1. The accused unlawfully (that is without excuse or justification);
  2. Assaulted another; and
  3. Caused bodily harm

Bodily Harm

Bodily harm is defined in section 1 of the Criminal Code as any bodily injury which interferes with health or comfort. The Court of Appeal has held that evidence “that it hurt” is not sufficient to make out the offence.

Maximum penalty

The maximum penalty for the an allegation of assaults occasioning bodily harm is seven (7) years imprisonment.

If there is a circumstance of aggravation of aggravation associated with the charge then the maximum penalty is increased to ten (10) years imprisonment  For this offence, a circumstance of aggravation is that the offender either:

  1. is or pretends to be armed with any dangerous or offensive weapon or instrument; or
  2. is in company with 1 or more other person or persons, the offender is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

In relation to an offence of assaults occasioning bodily harm the court has said in R v Abednego [2004] QCA 377

There can be no doubt that ordinarily a person who arms himself or herself to go to the residence of another person for the purpose of assaulting another that a term of imprisonment with time actually served would be considered. Where however a weapon is picked up without thought or where if taken is used instinctively or defensively then other considerations apply …”

Jurisdiction – Where will the matter be heard?

The offence of assaults occasioning bodily harm is an indictable offence.  The charge will be commenced in the Magistrates Court and if there is a plea of guilty the matter can be finalised there.

Where there is a circumstance of aggravation and the matter is contested it will be resolved in the District Court.

Conviction – Does a conviction have to be recorded?

The sentencing Court has a discretion whether or not to record a conviction against you for the offence of assaults occasioning bodily harm.  Generally a conviction would be recorded for this type of offence, although one is not inevitable.

The relevant factors are set out in section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, and include, the nature of the offence, the offenders character and age, together with the impact the recording a conviction would have on the offenders chances of finding employment. If you are concerned about a conviction being recorded on you or a loved you should seek legal advice.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.