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What does assault mean for purposes of this offence?

In Victoria, it is an indictable offence to commit acts that assault or threaten to assault with intent to commit an indictable offence against another person. The offence is punishable with 5 years imprisonment.

What the law says

Section 31(1)(a) of the Crimes Act 1958 provides that a person who assaults or threatens to assault another person with intent to commit an indictable offence is guilty of an indictable offence.

Assault is the direct or indirect application of force by a person to another person’s body, clothing or equipment that is worn. The application of force also includes the application of heat, light, matter (solid, liquid or gaseous form), electric current or any other form of energy to the body of the victim.

The application of force must be attended by the following elements:

  • no lawful excuse;
  • intention to inflict or be reckless as to the infliction of physical injury, pain, damage, shame or deprivation of liberty.

An example of the offence is when the offender hits another person with intent to kill or to cause serious physical injury.

Meaning of indictable offence

Indictable offences are serious crimes tried in court by a judge and jury or in some instances, by a Magistrate. As provided in Section 28 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009, it is under the jurisdiction of a Magistrate to hear and decide criminal cases that are punishable by a maximum penalty of imprisonment of 10 years or less or a fine up to 771 penalty units or less.

The accused has an option to have the case heard and decided by the Magistrates’ Court but absent such consent or if there are other more serious charges against the accused then the case will be heard in the County Court of Victoria.

Police and Prosecution evidence

The police and the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:

  • the offender assaulted or threatened to assault another person;
  • the assault resulted in injuries, pain or fear of being injured or in pain;
  • the offender acted with intent to commit an indictable offence;
  • the offender acted without lawful excuse.

Possible defences of the accused

A person accused of this offence can dispute the factual circumstances as alleged by the prosecution. The accused can counter that there was no intention to commit an indictable offence or that the accused acted in self-defence.

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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