Assault occasioning actual bodily harm: Police v WJP and lawyers

Assault occasioning actual bodily harm – section 59 Crimes Act 1900 – steal from the personsection 94 Crimes Act 1900 – plea of not guilty – charge dismissed

Facts:

WJP was charged with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

It was alleged that he and two unknown co-accused got out of a motor vehicle, approached two young victims, demanded and took money off them using menace and threatening violence before punching each in the face causing black eyes and lacerations to each victim and then absconding in the motor vehicle.

Police were told by a witness to the incident of the number plate of the motor vehicle which carried the offenders.  After police then spoke to the registered owner of the motor vehicle who provided details as to the driver and passenger at the time when the offence took place.  WJP was named as an occupant of the car at the time the victims were attacked.  When spoken to by police WJP denied being involved in the offence and claimed that the person who named him had told the police lies.

Outcome:

After a two day hearing in the Local Court, WJP was acquitted of the charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on each of the victims.

It was successfully argued on his behalf that he could not properly be identified as one of the assailants who attacked the complainants. The identification by the victims was vague and contradictory, the assertion by the person informing police that WJP was involved was unreliable and untrustworthy and the Magistrate hearing the matter was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt was involved in the offence at all.

WJP then applied for costs to cover his legal fees in defending the matter, arguing that the case was baseless from the outset. The Magistrate hearing the matter agreed and ordered that the prosecution in the case pay WJP’s legal expenses.

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