Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
In New South Wales, various assault offences are set out in the Crimes Act 1900. Assaults in New South Wales are divided into two general categories: common assaults and aggravated assaults. In New South Wales, an assault can be hurting someone without a lawful purpose. It can also be an act which causes a person to fear immediate and unlawful violence, even where there is no physical contact.
For a person to be found guilty of an assault the court must be satisfied of two things beyond a reasonable doubt. Firstly, that the defendant used or threatened to use physical force against the victim without a lawful excuse. Secondly, that the physical force was either intentional or reckless.
A common assault is an offence charged under s 61 of the Crimes Act 1900. Common assault is an indictable offence that is usually dealt with by the Local Court; however, the prosecution can elect to have a common assault dealt with by the District Court.
A common assault is an assault that results in no injury, or in injuries that do not require medical treatment. A common assault can also consist of a threat of violence, if the person making the threat has the ability to carry out the threat. A general threat that something will happen in the future is not enough to amount to an assault. If a threat creates an immediate fear it may constitute an assault. In New South Wales, common assault carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment for two years or a fine of up to $2,200.00.
Aggravated assaults are governed by sections 32 to 54 of the Crimes Act 1900. These assaults are categorised according to the degree of injury caused.
Assault Causing Actual bodily harm
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm is dealt with under section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900. “Actual bodily harm” is any hurt or injury that interferes with the victim’s health or comfort. This includes recognisable psychiatric illnesses, such as a severe depressive illness or anxiety disorder that is caused by an assault.
As with common assault, the prosecution can choose to have this offence dealt with in the District Court, where it carries a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison.
Assault causing grievous bodily harm
In New South Wales, offences relating to grievous bodily harm and wounding are set out in the Crimes Act 1900 between sections 33 and 54. Grievous bodily harm means really serious injury. However, the injury does not have to be permanent, long-lasting or life-threatening.
Grievous bodily harm includes:
- the termination of a pregnant woman’s fetus whether or not she suffers any other injury;
- any permanent or serious disfiguring of a person; and
- any grievous bodily disease.
Wounding is dealt with under section 33 or section 35 of the Crimes Act 1900. Wounding is an injury where the skin is broken. More than the top layer of skin must be broken by the act for it to amount to wounding.
Penalties for Wounding and Grievous Bodily Harm
Wounding and grievous bodily harm offences almost always result in jail sentences if the accused is found guilty. The maximum penalties for these offences range between 10 years and 25 years imprisonment. They are all strictly indictable offences and cannot be heard in a Local Court but must be committed to the District or Supreme Court. Most of these offences carry standard non-parole periods, which are the minimum times that are to be spent in custody before parole will be considered.
Lawful Excuse Defence
The lawful excuse defence is available in circumstances where a person comes into physical contact with another person (sometimes causing pain), but there has been agreement to the physical contact, such as when a doctor or dentist is treating a patient or when a person is playing sport. However, if the accused was playing sport and made contact outside of the rules of the sport – such as an illegal tackle- and that resulted in the other player being injured, then this may constitute an assault.
Actions that might otherwise constitute an assault at law will not constitute an assault if there was consent by the victim, such as in the playing of a sport such as boxing. The consent defence may also be arguable where two people are engaging in a fair fight or where a person agrees to be hit in a consensual context, such as sexual relations involving S&M.
However, the defence of consent does not apply in unlawful situations or in situations where the degree of harm suffered is severe (such as a broken bone).
Lawful Chastisement Defence
In New South Wales, parents have always been allowed to use reasonable and moderate force to physically discipline their children. In the year 2000, s 61AA was added into the Crimes Act 1900. This provision sets out what is lawful when physically punishing a child. The provision states that the level of force used must be reasonable, must not be to the child’s head or neck and must only last for a short time.
The defence of self-defence is outlined in section 418 of the Crimes Act 1900. It is a defence to an assault charge if the accused believed that their actions were necessary to defend either themselves or another person, or to prevent or stop an unlawful deprivation of liberty or to prevent or stop a criminal trespass.
The action that the accused took must have been a reasonable response in the circumstances as they understand them. If self-defence is raised as a defence to assault, then it is up to the prosecution to prove that what the accused did was not reasonable in response to the danger as they understood it.
The defence of Intoxication does not apply to most assault offences. The defence only applies to offences that are set out in section 428B of the Crimes Act 1900, such as maliciously inflict grievous bodily harm with intent. When dealing with this offence, the court can take into account how intoxicated the accused was when deciding whether the police have proved that the accused formed the intention to bring about a specific result. Intoxication is not a defence if the accused became intoxicated in order to help them commit the offence.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
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