What is assault occasioning bodily harm?

In Queensland, Australia, assault occasioning bodily harm is a criminal offence under section 339 of the Criminal Code Act 1899. This offence occurs when a person intentionally or recklessly causes bodily harm to another person. Bodily harm is defined as any injury that interferes with health or comfort and is more than merely transient or trifling in nature.

The penalties for this offence can vary depending on the severity of the offence, the circumstances surrounding the offence, and the criminal history of the accused. The maximum penalty for assault occasioning bodily harm is 7 years imprisonment. However, the court may impose a lesser penalty depending on the circumstances.

What do the police have to prove?

To establish the offence of assault occasioning bodily harm, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intentionally or recklessly applied force to another person and that the force caused bodily harm. The prosecution must also establish that the victim did not consent to the conduct and that the conduct was not justified in the circumstances.


The penalties for assault occasioning bodily harm in Queensland can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. The maximum penalty for this offence is seven years imprisonment. However, if the offence is committed in a public place or against a police officer, emergency worker, or court official, the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment. Fines and restitution to the victim may also be imposed as part of the penalty.


There are a number of defences that may be available to a defendant charged with assault occasioning bodily harm in Queensland. These include self-defence, defence of another person, consent, and provocation. However, it is important to note that the availability and success of these defences may depend on the specific circumstances of the case.

Procedural aspects of an assault occasioning bodily harm case

Assault occasioning bodily harm cases in Queensland are generally heard in the Magistrates Court. If the accused wants to plead not guilty in front of a jury the matter will be heard in the District Court. The prosecution must prove the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant has the right to legal representation and may enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. The trial may involve witness testimony, evidence, and legal arguments from both the prosecution and defence.

Will you go to jail?

Assault occasioning bodily harm is a very serious offence and a jail sentence is certainly possible. In determining the appropriate sentence (penalty), the court may consider a range of factors, including the seriousness of the offence, the degree of harm caused to the victim, the defendant’s prior criminal record, and other mitigating or aggravating factors. The court may also consider victim impact statements and reports from probation or parole officers when making its decision.

Do you need a lawyer?

Facing criminal charges can be a daunting and life-altering experience, but Watling Roche Lawyers can make all the difference in securing your legal rights and protecting your future. The expertise and dedication of a criminal defence lawyer can provide invaluable support to anyone charged with a criminal offence. These professionals have an in-depth understanding of the complex legal system, enabling them to navigate it with precision and skill. They can investigate the case, gather evidence, and build a strong defence strategy, all while ensuring that your rights are upheld. A criminal law firm can negotiate on your behalf, potentially reducing charges or penalties. Moreover, they are there to provide emotional support during what is often a highly stressful time. With their guidance, you stand a significantly better chance of achieving a favourable outcome, whether it’s a dismissal of charges, a reduced sentence, or an acquittal. Don’t leave your future to chance; seek the assistance of a criminal law firm to secure your rights and protect your freedom.


Our best assault lawyer, Ryan Roche is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you have a legal question please call 07 3188 1767 or call or SMS 0402 843 177.