Common Assault Offences in Victoria

Common Assault Offences in Victoria: Types, Charges, and Court Process

Assault is a criminal offence that involves the intentional or reckless use of force against another person without their consent. Common assault is the basic form of assault and is one of the most frequently committed offences in Victoria, Australia. The law governing common assault offences in Victoria is primarily contained in the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).

Types of Common Assault:

Common assault can occur in various forms, but generally, it involves the intentional or reckless use of force against another person. This can include hitting, pushing, slapping, or any other form of unwanted physical contact. It can also include threatening another person with violence, even if no actual physical contact occurs.

Charges for Common Assault Offences

The process of charging someone with common assault usually begins with the victim or a witness reporting the incident to the police. The police will then conduct an investigation, which may involve collecting physical evidence, interviewing witnesses, and obtaining statements. If the police believe there is enough evidence, they will formally charge the accused with common assault. The accused will then be arrested and brought before a court.

Court Process:

  1. Filing Hearing: After the charges are laid, the first court appearance is usually a filing hearing. During this hearing, the charges will be read out, and the accused will be asked to enter a plea. The accused does not need to enter a plea at this stage, and the matter will usually be adjourned to a later date.
  2. Committal Hearing: If the accused pleads not guilty, the matter will proceed to a committal hearing. During this hearing, the magistrate will consider the evidence and decide whether there is enough evidence to justify a trial. The accused will be asked to enter a plea at this stage. If the accused pleads guilty, the matter will proceed to sentencing. If the accused pleads not guilty, the matter will proceed to trial.
  3. Trial: During the trial, the prosecution and the defence will present their cases to the judge and jury. The jury will then decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty.
  4. Sentencing: If the accused is found guilty, the court will then impose a sentence. The maximum penalty for common assault in Victoria is 15 years imprisonment. However, the actual penalty imposed may be lesser, depending on the circumstances of the case. The court will consider various factors, such as the level of violence used, the impact on the victim, and the offender’s prior criminal history.

It is important to note that the legal process for dealing with common assault offences can be complex and stressful for all parties involved. It is always recommended to seek legal advice and support when dealing with such matters. Additionally, there are various support services available for victims of assault, such as counselling and legal assistance.