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Assault Lawyers Parramatta

If you've been charged with assault contact our expert criminal defence lawyers. We have offices in Parramatta and Southern Highlands and regularly represent clients at courts all over New South Wales.

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What is assault

An assault is said to have occurred when someone intentionally or recklessly causes another person to immediately apprehend unlawful violence. This may or may not involve actually touching the other person and the type of charge may depend upon the seriousness of injuries or the occupation of the person assaulted.

Types of assault

  • Common Assault
  • Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm
  • Recklessly/Maliciously Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm
  • Reckless Wounding

The definition of assault is broad enough that it even when there is no mark, injury and even no physical contact, a person can be found guilty of assault. It can also include acts such as spitting or throwing an object in the vicinity of another person.

Defences to assault

There are many defences to assaults. The most common kind is self-defence. Self-defence can extend to the defence of others or property.

Raising self defence must be done by the accused person. The accused person also needs to show that they believed it was necessary to do what they did, and that the belief was a reasonable one.

Consent is a slightly less commonly used defence and only applies to certain and specific categories of offences, as consent cannot be given in cases where an assault causes bodily harm.

Pleading guilty or not guilty?

Anyone who is charged with a criminal offence and brought before the court has the option to either plead guilty or not guilty.

A plea of guilty involves accepting that the elements of the offence are met. When a plea of guilty is entered the facts sheet that police have written is given to the magistrate. The magistrate reads that facts sheet and takes them to be the facts of the matter and sentences on the basis that it is true.

When a plea of not guilty is entered, if the matter is not a domestic violence offence, the court will order a timetable for the service of the police brief of evidence and the defendants response to that evidence.

Briefs of evidence contain everything the police intend to rely upon to prove the guilty of the defendant. Items in a brief can range from statements of witnesses, to footage and recordings, and medical or expert evidence. Each case is different and so what comprises a brief of evidence is different in every matter.

Once the relevant evidence has been served, then the matter is generally set down for a hearing where witnesses will come and give their evidence. Defendants may choose to give evidence too, and everyone is cross-examined on the evidence they have given. Following this, the magistrate or jury make a decision about whether or not the evidence has proved that the defendant committed the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

What does the court consider when I plead guilty?

The court considers a range of objective and subjective factors at sentence when a plea of guilty has been entered including:

  • Age
  • Prior criminal record and good character
  • The objective seriousness of the assault
  • Whether it was planned or spontaneous
  • The degree of violence
  • Whether or not weapons or instruments were used
  • The duration of the assault
  • Mental illness
  • Provocation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Remorse and contrition
  • The likelihood of reoffending

What if I disagree with some of the facts?

If a defendant disagrees with elements of the facts sheet then it is imperative the issues be worked out prior to being sentenced. Once a plea of guilty is entered and the magistrate receives the facts sheet, it’s contents cannot be disputed.

Issues with facts can be resolved in a number of ways depending on the impact they have on the seriousness of the matter and the attitude of police. Often factual issues can be resolved by negotiating with police through written representations, however sometimes a disputed facts hearing is required.

Penalties for assault charges in NSW

Most assaults are indictable offences that can be dealt with summarily. That means that they are determined in the Local Court, rather than the District Court. The penalties vary depending on the exact offence with which you have been charged. If you’ve been charged with assault you should contact a criminal lawyer prior to attending court.

Full time imprisonment is the maximum penalty for all of the varying kinds of assault and the court takes these sorts of offences very seriously.

Preparing to go to court

Being prepared for sentence proceedings or a hearing cannot be undervalued. Attending rehabilitation or counselling to address any underlying issues can be highly relevant and helpful on sentence, as well as clear acts and statements of remorse and contrition, as well as the production of character references which speak to the more personal aspects of the offenders character and life.

Assault Case Studies

  • Small fine and bond following second pub brawl charges

    Our client had been charged with two counts of common assault and one of re-entering a licenced premises after being excluded after being kicked out of a pub-style premises.

    Unfortunately, this was not the first time he had been charged with an offence of this nature, and the existence of other ‘alcohol fuelled violence offences’ substantially impacted the seriousness of these new offences.

    There was CCTV depicting our client committing the offences, however the facts sheet did not quite capture the offences appropriately. Our lawyer wrote representations to the police in order to negotiate the contents of the facts sheet, making it more favourable for our client.

    After the usual 6 week period, police accepted what we had put to them, and the matter proceeded to sentence proceedings.

    Our lawyer made submissions to the court about our clients subjective case and the matter was able to be finalised with a very small fine and a bond to be of good behaviour for 12 months.