Aggravated indecent assault is an indecent assault which involves one or more ‘circumstance of aggravation.’
The offence was replaced in December 2018 by ‘aggravated sexual touching’.
Your Options in Court
It can be confronting being charged with aggravated indecent assault, especially when you believe that you are innocent.
However, before you can be found guilty of aggravated indecent assault, the prosecution must prove the four elements of indecent assault, as well as at least one of the below ‘circumstances of aggravation.’
The four circumstances of aggravation are:
1. Where two or more people were present at the time of the alleged offence,
2. Where the complainant is under your authority,
3. Where the complainant has a cognitive impairment, or
4. Where the complainant has a serious physical disability.
If the prosecution fails to prove each of the elements of indecent assault, as well as at least one ‘circumstance of aggravation,’ you will be found ‘not guilty’ of the offence, although you may still be found guilty of the less serious offence of indecent assault.
Some commonly raised defences in relation to aggravated sexual assault include:
In many cases, pleading guilty at an early stage can help you get a better outcome as it will show to the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions. The magistrate may therefore be inclined to impose a more lenient penalty.
However, you should always speak to an experienced criminal lawyer before pleading guilty, as there may be some way that you can fight the charges.
If you’ve been charged with aggravated indecent assault, you might be wondering what kind of penalties you could be facing if you are found guilty.
The maximum penalty for aggravated indecent assault is 7 years imprisonment, or 10 years imprisonment where the complainant is under the age of 16.
However, these penalties are usually reserved only for the most serious cases. Often, our experienced criminal lawyers can help you obtain a lesser penalty by presenting the facts and circumstances of your case in a more positive light.
We can also push to have the matter heard in the Local Court, where the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment.
The types of penalties that may apply include:
Often, the law is difficult to understand, and you might feel confused about how a charge can impact your life and your future.
We have included some information below to assist you in understanding the charges as well as the types of penalties that you may face.
What are ‘circumstances of aggravation?’
‘Circumstances of aggravation’ are factors which make the indecent assault more serious.
The five circumstances of aggravation are:
1. Where two or more people were present at the time of the offence:
The prosecution must show that there was at least one other person physically present at the time of the offence, and that they shared a common purpose with the accused.
The court will consider the effect of the group as a whole in committing the act or intimidating the victim.
It won’t be enough to show that a second person participated in the offence without being physically present – for example, where someone acted as a lookout or assisted in planning the offence.
2. Where the complainant is under your authority:
This involves cases where the complainant was under your care, supervision or authority, for example, where you are the complainant’s carer, baby-sitter, teacher, or even an employer.
3. Where the complainant has a cognitive impairment:
This includes cases where the complainant had ‘below average intellectual function,’ which meant that they required assistance and supervision with daily activities.
Examples of ‘intellectual disabilities’ may include cases where the victim has a developmental disorder, a neurological disorder, dementia, a severe mental illness or a brain injury.
54 Where the complainant has a serious physical disability:
While the Act does not define ‘physical disability,’ it has generally been take to refer to a physical impairment or defect which may arise from an accident or condition at birth and affects the complainant’s quality of life.
What penalties could I face?
As discussed above, if you are found guilty of aggravated indecent assault, you may face various penalties ranging from a good behavior bond to full-time imprisonment.
Statistics show that the most common penalty for aggravated indecent assault is imprisonment.
For cases that were finalised in the Local Court, the average term of imprisonment was 12 months and 3 weeks with an average non-parole period of 8 months.
In higher courts the average prison term was 2 years and 11.5 months, with a non-parole period of 1 year and 6.5 months.
While these penalties may seem harsh, remember that you can increase your chances of getting the best possible outcome by engaging our specialized assault lawyers, who have the experience and knowledge to best assist you.
Call us now on (02) 9261 8881 to discuss how we can help you win your indecent assault case.
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