Section 59 Crimes Act 1900 | Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm


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If you’ve just been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and you’re wondering what to do next, a great first step is to understand the charges and how they could affect you.

Assault occasioning actual bodily harm describes situations where you act in a way that causes another person to fear unlawful personal violence, and you cause that person some kind of psychological or physical injury that is more than merely ‘transient or trifling’ – for example, bruises or scratches.

The other person must be shown to have not given you permission to touch them or cause the injury.

While most assault cases involve touching another person without their consent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm can also include situations where you don’t physically touch another person, but you cause them to fear for their personal safety so much that they develop some kind of serious psychological injury – for example, where you threaten to hurt someone and they develop anxiety or depression as a result.

Section 59 of the Crimes Act says that if you are found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, you could face a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

You could face a higher maximum penalty if there was another person, or group of people with you when you committed the offence. In these situations, the maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment.

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

For more information on assault occasioning actual bodily harm, see our offences page here.

The Legislation

Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and reads as follows:

59 Assault occasioning actual bodily harm

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

(2) A person is guilty of an offence under this subsection if the person commits an offence under subsection (1) in the company of another person or persons. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

If you’re facing charges in relation to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, it’s a good idea to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer who will be able to advise you of your options.

The expert defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers regularly appears in assault occasioning actual bodily harm cases and will be happy to help you understand the charges and what to do next.

As a firm that specialises exclusively in criminal law, we have the knowledge and experience to give you the best possible defence in your assault case.

We have a proven track record of obtaining excellent results in assault occasioning actual bodily harm matters – in many cases, we’ve helped clients avoid a conviction by persuading the magistrate to deal with the matter by way of a ‘section 10’ – which is where you are found guilty but no conviction is recorded on your criminal history.

If you wish to plead ‘not guilty,’ our Accredited Criminal Law Specialists can help you obtain all relevant evidence and present your case in the most compelling manner to ensure that you get the best result.

Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and arrange your FREE first conference to discuss your assault matter.