This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

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...

Sexual Assault


In Queensland, the offence of sexual assault is contained in section 352 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 which states:

“(1) Any person who:

  • (a) unlawfully and indecently assaults another person; or
  • (b) procures another person, without the person’s consent;
    • (i) to commit an act of gross indecency; or
    • (ii) to witness an act of gross indecency by the person or any other person;

is guilty of a crime.

Maximum penalty 10 years imprisonment.”

Despite the significant maximum penalty provided for under the law, it is possible in less serious cases for fines and other penalties (which do not include imprisonment) to be imposed.

What Actions Might Constitute Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault might be committed simply by the use of unwanted sexualised speech toward another person, though it is most commonly committed through a physical act. Non-consensual touching of another persons genitals would almost certainly constitute a sexual assault but the offence might also be committed by an unwanted touching of other areas of the body such as the buttocks or thighs.

Procuring another person to witness or perform an indecent act can also constitute a sexual assault where the act performed or witnessed was not lawful and consensual between all the parties to it.

Penetrative sexual acts can also constitute a sexual assault though they will almost always give rise to a more serious offence of aggravated sexual assault which is punished more severely under Queensland law.

A penetrative sexual act might also constitute an offence of rape.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict you of sexual assault, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • you indecently assaulted another person, and
  • you did so unlawfully, or
  • you procured another person to commit, or witness, an act of gross indecency, and
  • the person did not consent to being procured, committing or witnessing the act of gross indecency.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

Sexual Assault (in its simpliciter form) is a crime but it will be heard in the Magistrates Court unless you elect for a trial by jury in the District Court.

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

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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