Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm- Section 59 Crimes Act 1900

The section does not define what is an actual bodily harm.

Some examples of Actual Bodily Harm include:

  • Scratches/ breaking of the skin.
  • Bruises.
  • Psychologically in a very serious way, going beyond merely emotions, feelings, and states of mind.

Maximum Penalties

Whosoever assaults any person, and thereby occasions actual bodily harm, shall be liable to imprisonment for five years.

If a person is convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily, in the company of another person or persons is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

The prosecution need not prove a specific intent to cause actual bodily harm. Rather, they only need to prove that the accused intentionally or recklessly assaulted the alleged victim and that actual bodily harm was occasioned as a result of it.

Defences to this charge  

Self-defence- where you used unlawful violence to protect yourself, your property or another person. 

Duress Where you were threatened or coerced into using the unlawful violence.

Necessity– Where you used unlawful violence to prevent serious injury or danger.

Consent- Where consent was given to the touching.

Accidental- where the touching was accidental- for example, contact occurred in a large crown by mistake.

Pleading Guilty

It is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer who will be able to advise you of your options.

If you decide or have been advised to plead guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after receiving legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer, it is crucial that your case is sufficiently prepared to maximise your chances at obtaining a lenient sentence. 

Utilitarian Value or 25% discount on punishment

The discount for the utilitarian value of the plea of guilty will be determined largely by the timing of your plea entered. That means, the earlier you enter a plea of guilty, the greater discount you receive on your punishment and also the type of sentence you receive.

The utilitarian value of a delayed plea is less and consequently the discount is reduced.

Types of penalties

Types of penalties the Judge can impose on you include any one of the following:

Types of penalties the Judge can impose on you include any one of the following:

  • Conditional Release Order
  • Fine

Our expert defence team at Criminal Lawyers Sydney may be able to negotiate the police ‘facts’ to reduce the seriousness of the offence.

Our team will guide you on obtaining materials which can be handed-up to the court during your sentencing – including a letter of apology, character references and any documents from counsellors or health care professionals you have consulted.

These materials, together with persuasive verbal submissions by your lawyer in the courtroom, can help to ensure you receive the most lenient penalty that is possible in the circumstances.

If you have been charged with assault, call Criminal Lawyers Sydney anytime on (02) 91528619 to arrange a free first conference with one of our experienced assault lawyers who will review the allegations and advise you of your options and the best way forward.