Common assault, affray and reckless wounding in company: Police v AVG

Reckless wounding in company, Section 35(3) Crimes Act 1900 – affray, Section 93C(1) Crimes Act 1900 – common assault, Section 61 Crimes Act 1900 – joint criminal enterprise – mere coincidence of common actions – conditional discharge and good behaviour bond, Section 10(1)(b) Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999

Facts:

AVG was part of a group that started a brawl at a house party, and was charged with common assault, affray and reckless wounding in company. The facts of the brawl are confused, yet it is known that one of the complainants suffered two shallow knife wounds. AVG was not the person who wielded the knife, but he was nonetheless charged with reckless wounding under the rules of joint criminal enterprise.

Outcome:

Extending the crime of reckless wounding via the rules of joint criminal offender requires the second offender to share an express or implied agreement to achieve a common result with the primary offender. The fact that AVG was merely in the same group as the knife-wielder does not provide evidence of such an agreement. The defence lawyers argued this point during pre-trial representations with the prosecution, and the charge was withdrawn.

Out of the two remaining charges – common assault and affray – the defence lawyer successfully negotiated for AVG to plead guilty to affray if common assault were withdrawn. Upon sentencing, AVG was sentenced to a year-long good behaviour bond and a fine, and no conviction was recorded.

Contact O’Brien Solicitors on (02) 9261 4281 to set up a free appointment with the defence lawyers in our Sydney office.