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Indecent Assault in the Northern Territory

Updated on Jan 12, 2023 4 min read 304 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in Jan 12, 2023 Updated on Jan 12, 2023 4 min read 304 views

Indecent Assault in the Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, the Criminal Code 1983 contains sexual offences such as sexual intercourse without consent, gross indecency without consent and indecent assault. This page deals with the offences, penalties, defences and how to apply for bail if you are charged with indecent assault in the Northern Territory.

The offence of indecent assault in the NT

Under section 188(2)(k) of the Criminal Code 1983 it is an offence to indecently assault a person. The offence of indecent assault in the Northern Territory is punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

What is indecent assault?

An assault may be indecent because of the area of the body that is touched or because of the circumstances of the assault. It may occur through clothing.

In assessing whether an assault is indecent, the court will look at all the circumstances, including the relationship between the accused and the victim, what led to the assault and whether the accused was seeking sexual arousal or gratification.

Jurisdiction

Indecent assault is an indictable offence that can be heard summarily. This means it can be finalised in the Local Court or in the Supreme Court. When a matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the maximum penalty that can be imposed for a single offence is two years imprisonment.

Penalty for indecent assault in the Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, section 78F of the Sentencing Act 1995 requires courts to impose a term of actual imprisonment when a person is found guilty of a sexual offence. This means that there is mandatory imprisonment for indecent assault in the NT. The term of imprisonment that is imposed may be partly suspended but may not be wholly suspended.

If you have been charged with indecent assault or another criminal offence in the NT, it is advisable to get legal advice as soon as possible. Go To Court Lawyers will provide you with thorough, sensitive and timely advice on all of the following:

  • The strength of the case against you;
  • The likely penalty range given your history and circumstances;
  • Your bail prospects, if you are in custody;
  • Any available defences;
  • Any evidential issues.

Defences to indecent assault in the Northern Territory

A person charged with indecent assault may rely on a legal defence.

The defence of consent

A person is not guilty of an indecent assault if sexual touching took place and the alleged victim consented to the activity.

The defence of accident

A person is not guilty of an offence if touching of a sexual nature occurred accidentally.

The defence of lawful purpose

A person is not guilty of an offence if the touching occurred for a lawful purpose – such as a medical procedure.

A person charged with an offence may also rely on a factual defence, such as:

  • The alleged offence did not occur;
  • The accused is not the person who committed the offence.

Applying for bail on an indecent assault charge in the NT

If you have been charged with indecent assault, you may want to apply for bail. In the Northern Territory, bail applications are decided under the Bail Act 1982. A person will be granted bail if the court does not consider there is too great a risk that they will:

  • Commit an offence
  • Endanger a person
  • Interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice
  • Fail to attend court.

If you are granted bail, conditions may be imposed. These may include reporting to the local police, living at a specified address, refraining from contacting specified people (such as alleged victims or co-offenders) and abstaining from drugs or alcohol. If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Published in

Jan 12, 2023

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

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