Key Words: Common Assault – section 61 Crimes Act 1900 – plea of not guilty – acquitted
SAF was charged with a common assault on his flatmate’s girlfriend. The assault occurred whilst SAF, the alleged victim and the flatmate were drinking and then began to argue. The argument escalated and the flatmate became violent towards SAF. The flatmate begun to punch SAF. He was a much larger person in stature to SAF. SAF, in self defence, picked up a porcelain mug and hit the flatmate over the head with it. As this occurred, the flatmate’s girlfriend attempted to intervene to separate the parties. In the course of the melee, the girlfriend was struck by SAF. SAF explained to police in a recorded interview later that she had been caught up in the assault upon him and accidentally struck as he defended himself against the flatmate.
After a Local Court hearing the Magistrate determined that SAF had indeed acted in self defence against the flatmate. Further SAF was found not guilty of assaulting the girlfriend as she had intervened and been accidentally assaulted. It was not an intentional or reckless act on SAF’s behalf.
The charge was dismissed. A cost application was successful and SAF’s legal fees were recovered from the police on the basis that the police investigation had not been adequate and the prosecution had been instituted unreasonably.