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One Punch Law

The prevalence of incidents involving assault resulting in death in Western Australia raised concerns among legislators. In 2008, a new law which is the unlawful assault causing death was introduced to address this issue.

The Western Australia Criminal Code 1913, specifically section 281 (a) of which provides that if a person unlawfully assaults another who dies as a direct or indirect assault is guilty of the crime and liable for a ten years imprisonment. In paragraph 2 of the said section of the criminal code, it was provided that the attacker is liable under paragraph 1 even if the death of the victim was not intentionally done or anticipated by the accused. These are the basis of the unlawful assault causing death law.

This law was enacted as an answer to homicide cases resulting from a one-punch act committed by the accused. The one-punch homicide case is exemplified by an incident where the accused punched the victim and the latter fell to the ground injuring his head resulting in his death. Since the death was unforeseen and the accused raised the defence of accident, the charge of manslaughter against the accused resulted to his acquittal instead of conviction. And although the penalty for unlawful assault causing death is 10 years imprisonment, most of the convictions for this crime meted out a penalty of 2 to 5 years imprisonment only.

As the new law on assault resulting to death is in effect, so are convictions of men who assaulted and killed their partners or ex-partners when it was found out that there is a history of violence and abuse between the deceased partner and the accused.

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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