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Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm (Qld)

Updated on Jan 31, 2024 3 min read 539 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in Dec 13, 2022 Updated on Jan 31, 2024 3 min read 539 views

Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm (Qld)

In Queensland, there are a number of different assault offences contained in the Crimes Act 1899. These include common assault, serious assault, assault with intent to commit rape and assault occasioning bodily harm. This page deals with assault occasioning bodily harm in Queensland.

AOBH Legislation

The offence of assault occasioning bodily harm is contained in section 339 of the Crimes Act 1899

What is assault occasioning bodily harm?

The offence of assault occasioning bodily harm (AOBH) exists in some form in every state and territory of Australia. The definition varies from one jurisdiction to another.

In Queensland, the offence is defined as an assault that causes the victim bodily harm, meaning harm that interferes with their health or comfort. This could be a black eye, a scratch or bruising.

For the purpose of this offence, an assault is any application of force, either direct or indirect, to a person without the person’s consent.

Aggravated offence of assault occasioning bodily harm

An offence under section 339 is aggravated if the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon (or pretends to be) or if they are in company with one or more other people.

An offence is also aggravated if it is motivated by hatred or deep contempt for a person or group on the basis of race, religion, sexuality, sex characteristics or gender identity.

Penalty of assault occasioning bodily harm

The maximum penalty for assault occasioning bodily harm in Queensland is imprisonment for seven years. If the offence is aggravated, the maximum penalty increases to ten years.

AOBH is a more serious charge than common assault because the victim is alleged to have suffered harm.

Which court will assault occasioning bodily harm be heard in?

In Queensland, under section 552B of the Crimes Act 1899, AOBH must dealt with in the Magistrates Court (or Children’s Court if the accused is under 18) unless the accused elects for a jury trial.

If the accused wishes the matter to be tried by a jury, it will be heard in the District Court. This is likely to occur if the allegations are particularly serious or if there are complex legal arguments to be made.

A person charged with assault occasioning bodily harm may rely on a legal or a factual defence.

Legal defences to AOBH include:

Factual defences are defence based on the accused’s claim that they did not commit the alleged offence. These defences include alibi and mistaken identity. It is also a factual defence to argue that the elements of the offence are not made out – for example, because the victim consented to the assault or because they did not suffer bodily harm.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Published in

Dec 13, 2022

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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