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Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (known as ABH)

This type of assault is more serious than a ‘common assault’.  This is because there was an injury suffered by the alleged victim as a result of the assault. The ‘actual bodily harm’ can be quite minor, which includes bruising or a small cut.


In dealing with this particular offence your options when going to court are:


  • Plead not guilty


In order to be convicted of this offence, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you assaulted a person and:


Actual bodily harm was caused, being an injury that need not be permanent, but must be more than “merely transient or trifling” recklessly; or

Grievous bodily harm was caused, being “really serious” injury, recklessly; or

Wounding was caused, being an injury that pierces the inner and outer layer of the skin, recklessly.

If any of the above cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.


If the above elements can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:


  • Duress

  • Necessity

  • Self-defence

Our experienced criminal lawyers will advise you of your prospects of successfully defending any charge brought against you and fight to have you found not guilty of the offence.


  • Plead guilty


If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition as well as meaning that you will be entitled to a discount on your sentence.


Generally, you will recieve a 25% discount on your sentence if you plead guilty at the earliest opportunity in your court proceedings.


The offence of Assault occasioning actual bodily harm carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and 5 years imprisonment in the District Court.


However, assault occasioning actual bodily harm is an offence that may in some circumstances be dealt with pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentence Procedure) Act, meaning no conviction will be recorded, there is no other penalty, and you will have no criminal record.



Generally, penalties that a court can impose for any criminal offence in NSW are:


  • Section 10 – No conviction recorded

  • Fine

  • Section 9 – Good behaviour bond

  • Community service order

  • Section 12 – Suspended sentence

  • Intensive correction order

  • Home detention

  • Prison sentence


Charged with a criminal offense in NSW? if looking for a law practice that will defend your rights. Contact one of our experienced defence lawyers (Solicitors and Barristers) on (02) 8747 1789 to discuss how we may assist you in achieving a favourable outcome. Republic Lawyers extensively practice in criminal Law and regularly appear at Courts throughout New South Wales.

The above information is intended as general information and is not to be relied on as legal advice.

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