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Criminal Law Information NSW

Infliction of actual bodily harm in aggravated assault

The verb ‘to inflict’ which is used in the definition of acts of aggravated assault

The verb ‘to inflict’ which is used in the definition of acts of aggravated assault seems to convey the meaning that in order for an act of aggravated assault to be committed, there must be an actual and direct infliction of force upon the person of the victim by the accused using parts of his own body or use a weapon to inflict harm or injury upon the victim.

Factual circumstances (other than actual and direct infliction of harm) are also contemplated in aggravated assault. For instance, a person who lights a firecracker in a crowded movie theatre may be charged with aggravated assault for each and every member of the audience in the theatre who was gravely injured as a result of the panic and pandemonium caused by the exploding firecracker especially in these times when acts of terrorism are prevalent.

If for instance, the accused exploded a firecracker in a crowded movie theatre and some victims’ clothes caught on fire, the burns they sustained may be considered as grievous bodily injury. It is not difficult to see how despite the fact that the accused did not directly touch or harm the bodies of the victims, his acts caused them harm. Lighting those fire crackers were the proximate cause of the burns sustained by some members of the audience.

However, those members of the audience who were startled by the explosion and were trampled upon by the ensuing stampede in the theatre were not directly harmed by accused and yet, the act of lighting the firecrackers created a chain of events and a chain of causality and this is what caused the injury to the victims. This can also be argued for those members of the audience who suffered cardiac arrest from the panic created by the exploding firecrackers.

The factual allegations in the indictment often limit the defences that the accused can raise. The facts of each case often determine where reasonable doubt can be raised. This is why advice and representation by an experienced criminal lawyer is crucial to defending oneself against aggravated assaults. Criminal lawyers Penrith ,Criminal lawyers Wollongong, Criminal Lawyers Parramatta,

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