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Penalties will vary depending upon the severity of the assault. The consequences of being found guilty of assault, threats, or stalking offences can vary greatly depending upon the seriousness of the circumstances of the alleged offending.
Some minor categories of assault are prosecuted under the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic). At the lowest end of seriousness are the offences of Common Assault and Aggravated Assault which are prosecuted under the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic). Other offences such as Stalking, Intentionally/Recklessly cause injury, and Make threat to kill are indictable offences and prosecuted under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).
Aggravating features of an alleged assault
The seriousness of any allegation of assault will depend upon several factors. In sentencing an offender for an assault, the Court will consider whether there are any aggravating features including:
The age of the victim.
Whether the offence as committed in company with others.
Whether a weapon was used during the assault.
Whether the victim was an emergency worker.
Whether the victim sustained an injury and the severity of that injury.
Some key terms defined
Any assault which alleges an injury was sustained is an indictable offence and prosecuted under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). Under the Act, an ‘injury’ means:
(a) physical injury; or
(b) harm to mental health
A ‘serious injury’ is defined as an injury that:
(a) endangers life; or
(b) is substantial and protracted
What happens at Court?
At Court, the presiding Magistrate will inquire as to whether the respondent consents or disputes the application for a Final Intervention Order. Where the case is disputed, the Court will adjourn the application usually for a Directions Hearing to a future date and Order an Interim Intervention Order in the meantime. This Interim Intervention Order will usually be in the conditions sought by the police, although some negotiation as to the conditions of an Interim Order may be negotiated. An application for a Final Order is determined at the conclusion of a contested hearing unless a respondent consents to an Order. Legal advice should always be obtained to determine whether it is appropriate for a respondent to consent to a Final Order, and it is common for consent to be given on a without admission basis.
Some assault charges can be heard in the Magistrates’ Court, more serious offences must be heard in either the Count or Supreme Court
Intentionally and recklessly cause injury are mid-range offences and are frequently heard and finalised in the Magistrates Court. An assault allegation that alleges a serious injury cannot be concluded in the Magistrates’ Court.
So, an offence that features an assault will either be heard in either the Magistrates’ or County Court depending upon on the seriousness of the allegations.
Assault, Stalking & Threat Offence Resources
Assault, Stalking and Threat Offences
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