Assault Causing Harm Offences in South Australia

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to understanding Assault Causing Harm offences in South Australia, the process of laying charges, the court proceedings, and the potential consequences

Assault offences are treated with gravity in South Australia, and one particular category that carries substantial penalties is ‘Assault Causing Harm’. It involves intentionally causing harm to another person, where the harm is of a temporary or permanent nature.

The Offence – Assault Causing Harm

‘Assault Causing Harm’ is defined under the South Australian Criminal Law Consolidation Act. It involves an act of intentionally causing harm to another person. ‘Harm’ is defined broadly and includes any physical or mental injury, including pain and unconsciousness. The harm caused can be either temporary or permanent, but it must be more than merely transient or trifling.

How Police Lay Charges or Laying Charges for Assault Causing Harm

The process for laying charges for Assault Causing Harm usually involves the following steps:

  1. Report to Police: Initially, the victim or a witness must report the assault to the police. The police will then conduct an investigation, which may include interviewing the victim, witnesses, and the accused.
  2. Arrest and Charge: If the police believe there is enough evidence, they may arrest the accused and lay charges. The accused will then be given a notice to appear in court on a specified date.

The Court Process

  1. First Appearance: The first appearance will typically be before a magistrate in the Magistrates Court. The accused will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the accused pleads guilty, the court may proceed to sentencing. If the accused pleads not guilty, the matter will be set down for trial.
  2. Trial: At the trial, the prosecution and defence will present their cases. The prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused intentionally caused harm to the victim. The defence may present evidence or arguments to refute the prosecution’s case or to mitigate the accused’s actions.
  3. Verdict: After hearing all the evidence, the magistrate or judge will deliver a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
  4. Sentencing: If the accused is found guilty, the court will proceed to sentencing. The sentence will depend on various factors, including the severity of the harm caused, the accused’s criminal history, and any other mitigating or aggravating factors.

The Consequences of a Conviction for Assault Causing Harm

The consequences of a conviction for Assault Causing Harm can be severe. The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for three years. However, the actual penalty imposed will depend on a variety of factors, including the circumstances of the offence and the accused’s criminal history. Other potential penalties may include a fine, community service, a good behaviour bond, or a suspended sentence.


Assault Causing Harm is a serious offence in South Australia, carrying significant penalties. It is important to understand the nature of the offence, the process of laying charges, the court proceedings, and the potential consequences if you are involved in such a case. Seeking legal advice is crucial to ensure your rights are protected and to navigate the legal system effectively.