Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm


The Law in relation to Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm is found in Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). It states:

(1) Whosoever assaults any person, and thereby occasions actual bodily harm, shall be liable to imprisonment for five years.

(2) A person is guilty of an offence under this subsection if the person commits an offence under subsection (1) in the company of another person or persons. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

Therefore, an Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm is any act (but not a failure to act) where a person intentionally or recklessly causes another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence AND actual bodily harm results.

Some examples of assault include:

o   Striking at any person with a first, head or any other part of your body AND the other person sustains injury;

o   Throwing an object at another person AND causing injury.



Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm can be punished with sentence of up to 2 years (if heard in the Local Court) or up to 7 years (if heard in the District Court).

Please note that the penalties mentioned are only in the worst-case scenario and are unlikely to be the penalties you might actually receive.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm:

·        Full time Imprisonment

·        Intensive Corrections Order (ICO)

·        Community Correction Order (CCO)

·        Conditional release Order (CRO) (ie: bond)



Since Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution. The prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

·        You applied force and/or hit the other person; and

·        You did so intentionally or recklessly;

·        Without consent or lawful excuse; and

·        That action caused bodily harm -

Actual bodily harm is “hurt or injury that interferes with the health or comfort of the person assaulted”; and

·        You have not established a defence at law if so raised.



Some of the possible defences can include:

·        If you were compelled to act in a certain way due to the circumstances, or the threats of another you may be able to argue “Duress”;

·        If your actions were necessary to prevent a greater harm from occurring, you may have the defence of “Necessity”;

·        If you were defending yourself or another OR yours or another’s property you may have a Defence of “Self-Defence” even in situations where “Pre-Emptive Force” is used. Moreover, at times there be circumstances where you may argue that there was “No duty or need to retreat”.

·        You did not do the act.


Our client was recently charged with Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm. It occurred when he went to take his young son to a medical centre and upon arriving and banging on the door a passer-by told him to stop. Our client in his state of distressed assaulted the passer-by who sustained injuries to his face. After an early guilty plea to the charge, our team were able to submit compelling and mitigating submissions to the Court that resulted in our client receiving a community corrections order. This was a great result considering he was facing imprisonment time, but our dedicated legal team were able to secure a non-custodial sentence enabling him to keep his employment and continue to provide for his young family.



For Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® offers the following options:

  1. We initiate negotiation with prosecutors (police/DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) and plead to withdrawal or downgrade of the charge or alternatively, seek amendments to the police fact sheets or documents.
  2. At the hearing/trial, Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® shall if you so instruct Plead Not Guilty and drive the argument based on prosecution’s inability to prove the elements of their accusation.
  3. Alternatively, Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® may plead guilty on your instructions however, the hearing shall revolve around the facts with an objective to obtain a moderate or minimum punishment.
  4. Lastly, Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® on your instructions enter a plea of guilt where you accept all the charges pressed by the police, but we present a case so solid on your behalf, with an objective to persuade and convince the Court to not record a criminal conviction against you.

For further information on your choices at law click on (CHOICES AT LAW tab on our website)



There are several reasons to engage Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers®:

  •  We are always in your corner

At Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® we understand the gravity of a criminal charge on your reputation. Thus, we work with the utmost diligence and fervour to restore any dints to our client’s repute. We fight for your rights and liberty earnestly, and for the best results, irrespective of the intensity of the matter. All these factors have made us known in the industry as always being in our client’s corner. 

  •  We bring about excellent results

Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® is driven by positive outcomes and defend your case with skills which have been sharpened by years of experience. You will be dealing with lawyers who are proficient at their craft and will defend your case with rigour and an aim to have the matter withdrawn, downgraded, dismissed or the minimal penalty available at law imposed.

Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® are adept in all forms of advocacy and will present your case in the most skilful manner in Court. 

  • Your case will be in the hands of an experienced lawyer

Irrespective of your decision in deciding the course of the case, you will be supported and guided by Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® who have been in the provision of legal service for over 21 years. 

If you are caught up in this charge our team at Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® are best suited for representing your case.

Please contact our office on 0419 998 398 or 0492 857 721 or email for more information. The first consultation is free.

Speak to a Lawyer

Get a free Consultation