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Criminal Law Blog NSW

Assault occasioning actual bodily harm differs from common assault

Assault occasioning actual bodily harm differs from common assault in the sense that the former involves actual physical harm while the latter does not.

In order to be convicted of this offence, the following elements must be proven beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. An assault was committed;
  2. It resulted in actual bodily harm.

Aside from the abovementioned elements, it must also be proven that the person charged was the one who actually committed assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

One case in particular sets down the aggravating and mitigating circumstances that may accompany a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

On July 2, 2007, the accused was charged with a number of offences. It was revealed that enmity existed between the accused and the victim because the latter was rejected by a woman in favor of the former. As a result, the victim caused extensive damage to the property of the woman and it has been alleged that the accused armed himself with a meat cleaver for protection. In due course, the accused was able to strike the victim on the right shoulder with the meat cleaver.

The Court took into consideration Section 21A(2)(g) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. The provisions stated that the court must take into account the extent of the injury, loss, damage, or emotional harm caused by the offence. The Court held that, although there was actual bodily harm, there was no evidence that such injury would have permanent consequences, nor any emotional harm brought upon the victim.

As for the presence of any mitigating circumstance, the Court held that, although the accused showed remorse for his offence, it is irrelevant for the purposes of sentencing. It was further held that the attitude of the victim should not be taken into account in the proper exercise of sentencing because such proceedings are not limited merely between the victim and the offender. An offence is a wrong committed against the entire community, and any remorse directed at the victim will not matter because it is the community at large that is entitled to retribution.

Henson, G. L. (n.d.). Police v Le [2008] NSWLC 18. In New South Wales Caselaw. Retrieved Mar. 29, 2013, from http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lcjudgments/2008nswlc.nsf

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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