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Assault, Stalk, Harass or Intimidate at a School

Assault, Stalk, Harass or Intimidate at a School is an offence under Section 60E of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You assaulted, stalked, harassed or intimidated a person
  2. The person was a student or member of staff at a school, and
  3. The person was attending a school premises at the time

An ‘assault’ is where:

  1. You caused fear of immediate and unlawful violence, or you made unauthorised physical contact
  2. The other person did not consent, and
  3. Your actions were intentional or reckless

‘Stalking’ includes:

  1. Following a person about
  2. Watching, approaching or attending a person’s home, work, business or place of socialising, and
  3. Making unauthorised contact with a person

Courts must look at any pattern of behaviour when determining whether conduct amounts to stalking.

‘Harassment’ has been defined as pestering, badgering or the persistent application of unwanted pressure.

‘Intimidation’ includes:

  1. Harassment or molestation
  2. An approach, whether physical or otherwise, that causes a person to fear for his or her personal safety, and
  3. Causing a person to apprehend injury, violence or damage

‘Member of staff’ includes a person who performs voluntary work for the school.

‘School’ includes infant, primary and secondary school as well as child care facilities.

‘School premises’ includes parks and other premises being used by the school.

A defence to the charge is that the conduct amounted to reasonable disciplinary action by a member of staff against a student.

The maximum penalty increases to 7 years in prison where ‘actual bodily harm’ was caused which is harm that is more than ‘transient or trifling’ and includes lasting cuts, bruises and abrasions.

The maximum increases to 12 years where a ‘wound’ or ‘grievous bodily harm’ was caused.

A wound is the breaking of both layers of the skin being the dermis and epidermis and includes a ‘split lip’.

Grievous bodily harm’ means ‘very serious harm’ it includes, but is not limited to:

The destruction of a foetus, other than by a medical procedure, any permanent or serious disfiguring, and any grievous bodily disease.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Self-defence
  2. Duress, and
  3. Necessity

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