Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm


Assault occasioning actual bodily harm is an offence pursuant to section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900 ‘Act’. The provision states whosoever assaults any person, and thereby occasions actual bodily harm, shall be liable to imprisonment for five years.[1] It is a more serious offence than a common assault charge. This offence is aggravated if it is in the company of another person or persons. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.[2] If you have been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, contact Walker Criminal Lawyers for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer to discuss options to get the best outcome.


What are some examples of conduct amounting to assault occasioning actual bodily harm?

The assault needs to be relative to the actual bodily harm caused to the victim.

Types of conduct:

  • Punching
  • Slapping
  • kicking
  • striking with an object

Actual bodily harm inflicted:

  • Bruises
  • Cuts


To be convicted, what do the police need to show?

In order to be convicted the police beyond reasonable doubt need to show that you fulfilled the elements of the assault occasioning actual bodily harm offence. The elements for this offence are:

  1. Assaulted a person
  2. Intentionally or recklessly
  3. Actual bodily harm was inflicted
  4. No consent[3]


What defences may I raise?

Possible defences to the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm can include:

  • Self defence
  • Necessity
  • Duress

The applicability of the defences is situation dependant. If you have been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, I encourage you to book a free consultation with one of our lawyers to discuss your options.


What penalty might I receive if I am convicted of an assault occasioning actual bodily harm offence?

Depending upon the circumstances of the offence, the court has the discretion to determine which is the most appropriate to penalise you with.

  • Prison sentence
  • Intensive corrections order
  • Community corrections order
  • Fine
  • Section 10A
  • Conditional release Order
  • Section 10.

[1] Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) s 59(a).

[2] Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) s 59(b).

[3] Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) s 59(a).

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* Information contained in this article is of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as concise legal advice.
Please contact us for legal advice tailored to your situation. *

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