Common assault charges in Western Australia arise in cases where a person has sustained minor injuries or where a person has been threatened. This offence generally arises whenever a person is hit, pushed or shoved in Western Australia.
Under section 313 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (the Criminal Code), common assault is defined as follows:
“Any person who unlawfully assaults another is guilty of a simple offence and is liable”:
a) if the person assaulted is of or over the age of 60 years, to imprisonment for 3 years or a fine of $12000; or
b) in any other case, to imprisonment for 18 months or a fine of $6000.”
In Western Australia, common assault offences are generally dealt with by the Magistrates Court. Under section 222 of the Criminal Code, assault is defined as “a person who strikes, touches, or moves, or otherwise applies force of any kind to the person of another, either directly or indirectly, without his consent, or with his consent if the consent is obtained by fraud, or who by any bodily act or gesture attempts or threatens to apply force of any kind to the person of another without his consent, under such circumstances that the person making the attempt or threat has actually or apparently a present ability to effect his purpose, is said to assault that other person, and the act is called an assault”.
The term “applies force” includes the case of applying heat, light, electrical force, gas, odour, or any other substance or thing whatever if applied in such a degree as to cause injury or personal discomfort.
In order to prove that an offence of common assault has been committed, the prosecution must prove to the Court beyond a reasonable doubt of the following elements:
- That there has been an application of force from the accused to the victim;
- That the application of force was executed without the victim’s consent;
- That the application of force was done so intentionally or recklessly; and
- That the assault was not justified, authorised or excused by law.
There are a number of defences available to a charge of common assault for those that have been charged. These include but are not limited to:
- The discipline of a child;
- Self-defence or defence of another; or
- Preventing violence from occurring.
Common Assault Client of AH2 Legal:
Ms Zhang was a 25 year old local resident who was charged by WA Police for assaulting another 26 year old woman when the pair of women were arguing inside a Northbridge karaoke entertainment outlet and Ms Zhang slapped the victim across her face.
WA Police had arrived at the scene after being called by the victim’s friends. Ms Zhang explained to WA Police that she had slapped the victim because she was angry at the victim for laughing about her appearance that night. Ms Zhang was charged under s.313 of the Criminal Code as she had unlawfully assaulted the 26 year old victim which resulted in a bruised face from the slap and a few cuts from Ms Zhang’s fingernails scratching the victim’s face. Ms Zhang was arrested by WA Police immediately after the incident outside the karaoke entertainment outlet and was facing 1 ½ years in prison for this particular criminal offence.
Our Criminal Lawyers in AH2 Legal were subsequently contacted to represent Ms Zhang in Court for her criminal matter and we had successfully assisted Ms Zhang with her plea in mitigation which resulted in Ms Zhang only getting a small fine of $600 instead of having to go to prison.
Ms Zhang is just one of the many clients we have helped over the years with criminal matters. If you have been detained by the police or are facing criminal charges in Court, you can always rest assure that we at AH2 Legal stand ready to assist you regardless of your circumstances.
*the names of the persons involved in this matter have been changed to protect the client’s identity.