Unlawful Assault, Intentionally & Recklessly Causing Injury – a case study
(1) Intentionally cause injury. (2) Recklessly cause injury. (3) Unlawful assault.
Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court – May 2023.
Summary of facts
Our client and the complainant are sisters and prior to the alleged incident, they had not seen each other for several years as the complainant resides interstate. Following the complainant’s arrival to Melbourne, the sisters attended a local bar for dinner and drinks, where it is alleged 7-8 alcoholic beverages were consumed prior to leaving the bar.
It was alleged that an argument ensued where our client, being the driver of the vehicle, pulled the car to a rest stop and dragged the complainant out of the vehicle and assaulted her.
Our client was arrested and interviewed a month later, making a “no comment” statement during the interview with the Police. Following her interview she was charged with several assault offences namely: Intentionally causing injury; recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault.
What happened at Court?
Our client disputed the allegations. Following case conference discussions, the matter was listed for a Contest Mention.
Prior to the matter returning on the Contest Mention date, our office held further case conference discussions with the Prosecution regarding the lack of strength of the Prosecution’s case. Some of the issues raised with the Prosecution include:
No CCTV footage depicting the alleged incident;
Merely the complainant’s statement against our client’s instructions;
Photos of the complainant’s injuries taken at the hospital are inconclusive as to whether the allegations were perpetrated by our client; and
Issues with the Prosecution calling the complainant to give evidence and be cross-examined, if the matter proceeds to a Contested Hearing, given the complainant resides interstate.
What the prosecution had to prove
Unlawful Assault is a summary offence under Section 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966:
On the other hand, intentionally or recklessly causing injury are indictable offences and can be heard and finalised in the Magistrates' Court. Intentionally and recklessly causing injury are prosecuted under section 18 of the Crimes Act 1958 (The Act), and the content of that section provides:
“A person who without lawful excuse, intentionally or recklessly causes injury to another person is guilty of an indictable offence.
If the injury was caused intentionally – level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum);
If the injury is caused recklessly – level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum).
In accordance with the Act, the term “injury” means any physical or harm to mental health, whether temporary or permanent.
Having received detailed instructions from our client and have made a thorough analysis of the prosecution case, it was evident that our client could defend the charges on the basis of a factual dispute and potentially self-defence. Consequently, an offer was made to the prosecution that the charges be withdrawn.
The prosecution accepted our position in regard to the case and withdrew all charges against our client on a 'without costs' basis.
Contact our office for advice and representation
If you are facing an allegation of assault call our office to organise a consultation. We offer an initial free case conference where we can provide expert advice on the best approach.