Over 7,300 assault offences have been recorded in Australia and around 60 per cent of which are all Alcohol-related crimes. While the authorities have successfully reduced the overall crime rate by 5 per cent, Assault/Violence Offences have increased in several territories.
Alice Springs alone has reached 1,900 recorded assault-related crimes, which is around 24 per cent of the crimes registered across the Territory. Seventy-one per cent of these assaults in Alice Springs is induced by Alcohol intoxication. Tenant Creek, with a population of 3,000, comes up in second place for the highest recorded assault crimes with 600 recorded assault/violence offences.
In the Northern Territory, Assaults has been defined under the Criminal Code Act – Schedule 1, Division 5, 187. Generally, Assault is defined in common law as an act of an impending injury or offensive contact with another person. It can be carried out with the use of a threat of bodily harm coupled with a clear, evident and present ability to cause injury. The Criminal Code Act further classifies Assault/Violence Offences in Section 188 to 193.
Common Assault under 188 can imprison an offender for one year; this can be charged to a person if he committed the assault, and there is no greater punishment provided for his infractions. Assault on workers under 188A can be imposed on persons who committed an offence against a worker in the performance of his duty. Assault on Police under 189A provides a penalty of 2 years imprisonment for any person who committed an assault on an officer while executing his official duties.
An assault on an Administrator, judge or magistrate provides a stiffer penalty of 14 years imprisonment if the assault is performed by a person while the former is exercising his official functions.
The same length of penalty is imposed for those persons who assaulted a member of a crew of an aircraft. Assault under this circumstance threatens not only the life of the victim but the persons on board the aircraft as well. Assault to commit an offence is punishable with three years of imprisonment.
Defences on Assault/Violence Offences vary according to the territory. However, the usual valid defences are Self Defence, Defence of property, Prevention of Crime, Lawful Order/Arrest in case of the local enforcers and authorities.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.