Have you been charged although were acting in self-defence?

20 NOV 2018


The law recognises the right of a person to act in self-defence from an attack or threatened attack. However, there is more to this defence then simply saying that an act was in self-defence.

It is for the Prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person did not act in self defence. To successfully raise a self defence the following must occur:

  1. The accused person believed at the time of the act that is was necessary to do what they did in order to defence themselves; or
  2. The accused’s act a reasonable response in the circumstances as the accused perceived them.

Recently one of our criminal Solicitors ran a successful self defence argument, in which the Prosecution were not able to disprove that our client acted in self defence. Here is a brief outline of the matter:

  • Our client was charged with ‘Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm’
  • Our client and the complainant had been in a relationship for approximately 6 months.
  • Our client ended the relationship and blocked the complainant from all social media.
  • The complainant attended our client’s house one night because our client would not return any of his phone calls.
  • Our client and the complainant sat on some green plastic chairs on the front veranda of our client’s house. An argument about the relationship commenced and became heated very quickly.
  • The Prosecution alleged that our client picked up the complainant’s phone and hit him across the head with it 3 times which caused swelling and bruising to his face.
  • It was our client who initially called the Police, however, Police ultimately charged her.
  • We successfully cross examined the complainant  who then admitted that in fact he had pushed our client over whilst still sitting in the chair and was on top of her.
  • Evidence was led from our client who provided a clear version that she only hit the complainant with the phone once, and after he had pushed her to the ground and was on top of her.
  • Submissions were made that our client’s actions were necessary and reasonable and she should be found not guilty as a result that she acted in self-defence.
  • The Magistrate accepted these submissions and found our client not guilty.

For more information contact Sharon Ramsden on (02) 4626 5077 or sramsden@marsdens.net.au

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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