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Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm (AOBH)

In Queensland, there are a range of assault offences contained in the Crimes Act 1899, including assault occasioning bodily harm (AOBH).  People are often charged with AOBH where an assault causes an injury that does not amount to Grievous Bodily Harm or does not constitute a serious assault. This page deals with assault occasioning bodily harm in Queensland.

The Offence Of Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm

The offence of Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm is contained in section 339(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1899.  AOBH is an assault that causes the victim harm that interferes with their health of comfort. This may be something as minor as a bruise or scratch.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment, or ten years imprisonment if the offence is aggravated.

If the offence of AOBH is committed in any of the following circumstances, the maximum penalty increases to ten years imprisonment:

  • the offender is armed with a weapon;
  • the offender pretends to be armed with a weapon;
  • the offender is in company with one or more other persons.

What Actions Might Constitute Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm?

AOBH can consist of any application of force against another person without their consent that causes an injury. This includes pushing a person, punching a person, head butting or kneeing a person, so long as the act causes an injury that interfere with their health or comfort.

What The Police Must Prove

To find a person guilty of an assault occasioning bodily harm, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • the person struck, touched or applied force to the victim;
  • they did so intentionally or recklessly;
  • they did so without the victim’s consent and without a lawful excuse; and
  • the action caused bodily harm to the other person (being more than a trifling injury but less than permanent damage).

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

A charge of assault occasioning bodily harm will be heard in the Magistrates Court (or Children’s Court if the accused is under 18), unless the accused asks for the matter to be dealt with in the District Court.


A person charged with AOBH may rely on a number of legal defences.


A person is not guilty of an offence if they assaulted another person in self-defence or in defence of another person.


A person is not guilty of an offence if they acted under duress. Duress exists when a person is essentially ‘forced’ to commit an act by threats of consequences if they do not comply with a person’s demands.

Mental impairment

A person is not guilty of an offence if they were mentally impaired when they committed the act and could not understand the nature of their conduct or could not understand that their conduct was wrong.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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