At its simplest form, assault is the intentional infliction of bodily harm without consent. This is a broad term and is meant to capture a wide variety of criminal actions. In the Criminal Code, assault is used as an umbrella term that is applied to a number of different sections, including sexual assault. Where the allegations are more serious, or where the consequences of the assault are more severe, the police may choose to lay a more serious charge, such as assault causing bodily harm, or aggravated assault, which requires the endangerment of life.

What You Need to Know

  • For simple assault, the maximum penalty is five years imprisonment.
  • Where the Accused does not have a criminal record, the chances of receiving a custodial sentence are very slim.
  • The potential penalties increase dramatically depending on the Accused’s criminal history, and the severity of the assault.
  • Depending on the nature of the offence counselling programs may be available, and if completed successfully, can be used to avoid a criminal conviction.

Domestic Assault

Domestic Assault does not have a unique offence within the Criminal Code, but falls under the general offence of Assault. The Courts tend to treat charges involving domestic violence more seriously because the assault involves a breach of trust between the Accused and the alleged victim. Where the Accused and the alleged victim live together, this can create serious difficulties for the Accused and their families while awaiting the outcome of Court proceedings. Counselling programs are available in advance of resolution, and these programs can play an important role in mitigating the ultimate sentence.