Section 59A Crimes Act 1900 | Assault During Public Disorder


Life can seem stressful when you’re facing assault charges, however understanding what the law says is a great first step to take.

Section 59A of the Crimes Act makes it an offence to assault another person during a ‘public disorder’ – this is, where you cause another person to fear ‘unlawful personal violence’ during some kind of civil disturbance that poses a risk to public safety, such as a riot or violent protest.

While an assault usually involves touching another person without their permission, it can also include harm caused where you didn’t physically touch the other person – for example, making serious threats.

If you are found guilty of assaulting another person during a public disorder, you could face a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

Furthermore, if you assault another person during a public disorder and cause them to suffer ‘actual bodily harm,’ you could face a harsher penalty of 7 years imprisonment.

However, these are maximum penalties and will only apply in the most serious cases.

‘Actual bodily harm’ means some kind of injury that is more than merely ‘transient or trifling,’ such as bruises or scratches, or serious psychological injuries such as anxiety and depression.

The Legislation

Section 59A of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘assault during a public disorder’ and reads as follows:

59A Assault during public disorder

(1) A person who assaults any person during a large-scale public disorder, although not occasioning actual bodily harm, is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

(2) A person who assaults any person during a large-scale public disorder, and by the assault occasions actual bodily harm, is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

If you’ve been charged with assaulting someone during a public disorder, our lawyers can help you get a favourable result and avoid serious penalties such as imprisonment.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers practices exclusively in criminal law, and each of our lawyers has an in-depth understanding of the law in relation to assault.

This means that our clients benefit from our expert knowledge and experience when it comes to fighting the charges.

Our dedicated lawyers will assist you every step of the way – from helping you understand the charges, to representing you in court if necessary.

In many assault cases, we have been able to have the charges dropped at an early stage by writing to the prosecution and highlighting problems with their case or raising a defence to explain our client’s actions – for example, where they were acting in self-defence.

We can also help you get the best possible result if you want to plead guilty – we have been able to obtain ‘section 10s’ in even the most serious assault cases, which is where you are found guilty but no conviction is recorded on your criminal history.

When it comes to fighting your assault charges, trust Sydney’s criminal law experts. Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and let us help you win your assault case.