In Queensland, serious assaults carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment unless a circumstance of aggravation exists, in which case the maximum penalty is up to 14 years imprisonment.
Serious Assault Legislation
The offence of serious assault is contained in section 340 of the Criminal Code Act 1899. Under that provision a person commits serious assault if they:
- Assault a person with intent to commit a crime or resist arrest or detainment;
- Assault, obstruct or resist a police officer on duty;
- Assault a person who is performing a duty imposed by law;
- Assault person in pursuance of various categories of conspiracy;
- Assault person aged over 60;
- Assault a person who relies on a guide dog, wheelchair or other remedial device.
What The Police Must Prove
To convict you of a serious assault, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
- you committed an assault in one of the above seven categories;
- you did so intentionally or recklessly; and
- you did so without consent or lawful excuse.
Possible Defences For Serious Assault
Possible defences to a charge of Serious Assault Police include, but are not limited to:
- the accused was acting in self-defence;
- the offence was an accident (meaning an absence of criminal intent);
- the accused was acting under duress.
In particular, a defence might arise where a police officer was not exercising their duty in any reasonable manner when assaulted. If it can be shown that a police officer was acting outside of their legitimate power or function, that fact might defeat a charge of Serious Assault Police.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
A charge of Serious Assault Police is a serious matter and will be heard in the District Court unless the prosecution elects to have it determined by a Magistrates Court.
Aggravated Serious Assault
The aggravated offence of serious assault occurs when one or more aggravating features are present in which case the maximum penalty for the offence is increased to 14 years imprisonment. The aggravated offence is committed when a person bites, spits on or throws bodily fluid at the victim, causes injury to the victim, or is or pretends to be, armed at the time of the assault.
A charge of Aggravated Serious Assault is a very serious offence and there is a risk of imprisonment even for a first offender.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.