An allegation of Assault can have detrimental effects on an individual, their family, and their career. We provide expert and professional advice from representation at the police station through to trial and appeal.
Our team is available 24 hours a day and can be by your side representing you and your case.
Assault is where an individual intentionally uses unlawful force against someone else. Assaults are usually categorised by the injuries caused. Common assault, actual bodily harm (ABH) and grievous bodily harm (GBH) are all criminal offences and cover a range of injuries from bruises or scratches through to life-threatening injuries.
Common assault is when a person inflicts violence on someone else or makes them think they are going to be attacked. It does not have to involve physical violence. Threatening words or a raised fist is enough for the crime to have been committed provided the victim thinks that they are about to be attacked. Spitting at someone is another example. Sentencing for this is as follows:
- the maximum sentence is six months of custody
- if the assault is against an emergency worker, the maximum sentence is one year’s custody
- if the assault is racially or religiously aggravated, the maximum sentence is two years’ custody
Actual bodily harm (ABH) means the assault has caused some hurt or injury to the victim. A physical injury does not need to be serious or permanent but must at least cause minor injuries, pain, or discomfort. Psychological harm can also be covered by this offence, but this must be more than just fear or anxiety. Sentencing for this is as follows:
- the maximum sentence is five years of custody
- if the assault is racially or religiously aggravated, the maximum sentence is seven years of custody
Grievous bodily harm (GBH) means the assault has caused serious physical harm. It does not have to be permanent or dangerous. For example, a broken bone would amount to GBH – in some cases, a broken bone might lead to permanent disability but, in others, it might heal without leaving any long-term effects. GBH can also include psychiatric injury or someone passing on an infection, for example through sexual activity.
Wounding requires that the victim’s skin is broken, either on their body or their inner skin (for example, inside their lip) but it does not include the rupture of blood vessels so, if the injury is just bruising, that would not amount to wounding. The injuries involved in a wounding can be less serious than those in GBH. Sentencing for both GBH and wounding are as follows:
- the maximum sentence is five years’ custody.
- if the assault is racially or religiously aggravated, the maximum sentence is seven years’ custody
- if the assault was committed with intent to cause GBH/wounding then the maximum sentence is life imprisonment
Michael Horne and Abby Washbourne, who are featured in this video, will be working with you on your case. If you would like to make an enquiry, please call the office.
The offence of common assault carries a maximum six month prison sentence and is tried in the Magistrates’ Court. Common assault is committed by threatening immediate unlawful violence and no physical contact is needed.
Assault by beating is the intentional use of physical force.
ABH is committed when an individual intentionally or recklessly assaults another causing actual bodily harm. The harm does not have to be permanent but must be more than trivial.
Psychological harm that involves feelings such as fear, distress or panic and is a recognised psychiatric illness it is likely the offence of ABH has been committed. The maximum sentence is five years imprisonment.
GBH is defined as ‘really serious’ harm. The differences between unlawful wounding/ inflicting GBH (s20 OAPA) and wounding/causing GBH with intent s18 (OAPA) are defined by what was alleged to be in the mind of the person committing the offence.
S20 – the individual either intended or foresaw the act causing some harm or wounding. The maximum sentence is five years in prison.
S18 requires the individual to intend to cause really serious harm. The maximum sentence is life in prison