Assault / Violent Offences

In Queensland the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899 creates a number of offences relating to assaults and other violent behaviour. Violent behaviour is among the more serious of crimes in Queensland and as a result you should immediately seek legal advice if you are involved in such a dispute.

Robertson O’Gorman is experienced in providing legal advice regarding violent offences. Contact us today on 3034 0000.

The offence of causing grievous bodily harm is created by section 320 of the Criminal Code.

Grievous bodily harm is defined as:

(a)  the loss of a distinct part or an organ of the body; or

(b)  serious disfigurement; or

(c)  any bodily injury of such a nature that, if left untreated, would endanger or be likely to endanger life, or cause or be likely to cause permanent injury to health.

The maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year imprisonment if the person is part of a criminal organisation and commits the offence against an on-duty police officer. Furthermore, the accused faces a mandatory community service order if they commit the offence in a public place while intoxicated.

The offence of torture falls under section 320A of the Criminal Code.

Torture is defined as the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering on a person by an act or series of acts. Furthermore, pain and suffering includes physical, mental, psychological or emotional pain or suffering, whether temporary or permanent.

The maximum penalty is 14 years.

Wounding is an offence created by section 323 of the Criminal Code.

Wounding is different to causing grievous bodily harm because the Criminal Code does not contain a definition for wounding. The offence therefore covers far more injuries that would not be as serious to meet the definition requirements of grievous bodily harm.

The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment. The accused also faces a mandatory community service order if they commit the offence in a public place while intoxicated.

The offence of negligent acts causing harm is created by sections 328 of the Criminal Code.

The elements of this offence can be satisfied even if the accused has done nothing at all. Negligence refers to both doing any act and failing to do an act where it’s the person’s duty to do so.

The maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment.

Common assault is an offence under section 335 of the Criminal Code.

The definition of assault, found at section 245 of the Criminal Code, is very broad. It includes striking, touching, moving, or otherwise applying force of any kind. Applying force can include applying heat, light, electrical force, gas, odour, or any other substance or thing in such a degree as to cause injury or personal discomfort. It can include actions that are direct and indirect. Assault can also include threats when the person making the threat has actually or apparently a present ability to carry out the threat. Assault is committed when these actions are committed without the victim’s consent.

This offence carries a maximum sentence of 3 years imprisonment. The accused also faces a mandatory community service order if they commit the offence in a public place while intoxicated.

Assault occasioning bodily harm is a more serious offence found under section 339 of the Criminal Code.

As an added element to common assault, there must be some kind of bodily harm resultant to the assault. Bodily harm is defined as any bodily injury which interferes with health or comfort.

The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment. This is increased to 10 years imprisonment if the accused is or pretends to be armed with a weapon. The maximum penalty is also 10 years if the accused is in company with 1 or more other person or persons. Furthermore, the accused is subject to a mandatory community service order if they commit the offence in a public place while intoxicated.

The offence of serious assault is created by section 340 of the Criminal Code.There are a number of circumstances which constitute a serious assault. These include scenarios in which the person:(a)  assaults another with intent to commit a crime, or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful arrest or detention of himself or herself or of any other person; or(b)  assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs, a police officer while acting in the execution of the officer’s duty, or any person acting in aid of a police officer while so acting; or(c)  unlawfully assaults any person while the person is performing a duty imposed on the person by law; or(d)  assaults any person because the person has performed a duty imposed on the person by law; or(e)  assaults any person in pursuance of any unlawful conspiracy respecting any manufacture, trade, business, or occupation, or respecting any person or persons concerned or employed in any manufacture, trade, business, or occupation, or the wages of any such person or persons; or

(f)   unlawfully assaults any person who is 60 years or more; or

(g)  unlawfully assaults any person who relies on a guide, hearing or assistance dog, wheelchair or other remedial device.

The maximum penalty for these offences is generally 7 years. However, if the victim is a police officer there are a number of circumstances where the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment:

(i)            the offender bites or spits on the police officer or throws at, or in any way applies to, the police officer a bodily fluid or faeces;

(ii)           the offender causes bodily harm to the police officer;

(iii)          the offender is, or pretends to be, armed with a dangerous or offensive weapon or instrument.

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