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Assault and battery are offences under Queensland law | 澳法评

2021.02.11 | | #Jung-bin Ahn

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Assault and battery are offences under Queensland law.

In Australia, it may be an offence to cause some physical contact with another person. It must have been done with consent of the plaintiff and you must be at fault. This is called battery. The position in Queensland regarding battery is different. It is an offence to strike, touch or move, or otherwise applies force of any kind to another person, either directly or indirectly, without the consent of the other person.

Therefore, in Queensland, direct or indirect application of force to another person without the said person’s consent is said to have committed battery. There must be physical contact with the plaintiff by the defendant and the contact need not be person to person. For example, any indirect application of force such as spitting in someone’s face or throwing a book in the direction of another person which results in the person being hit, would be considered application of physical contact. However, this does not mean that any physical contact can be considered an offence. An exception would be physical contact as a result of every day life.

Secondly, to establish battery, the physical contact must have been applied without consent. The plaintiff must not have given consent to the defendant to perform that act. Consent is a possible defence for battery.

Consent may be either implied or express. Express consent may be given by the plaintiff to the defendant directly or implied consent may be implied by the circumstances. For example, any reasonable application of physical contact during participation in sport may be implied. However, any express consent that was given may be invalidated if it was given under duress, the person giving consent lacked the capacity or if consent was given through fraud.

Lastly, the defendant must be at fault. The physical contact must either be intentional or negligent. The defendant must have either intentionally caused the physical contact or have been negligent in their actions to have caused the contact. The action does not need to be intended to either cause harm or injury. The intention of the defendant is irrelevant and the action must be voluntary.

In Queensland, assault is any act of the defendant which directly and intentionally or negligently causes the plaintiff to immediately apprehend a contact with their person.

To establish assault in Queensland, there must be threat of imminent direct contact. Threat must be through gesture, words communicated to the plaintiff and there can be some delay, however, the threat must not be a threat of harm at some distant time in the future.

Secondly, the plaintiff must be aware of the threat. The plaintiff need only apprehend the threat and there is no need for the plaintiff to feel afraid of the threat. However, it must be recognised that the defendant have either the actual ability or apparent present ability to carry out the threat. A conditional threat such as applying physical contact if the plaintiff does an act can be considered a threat as well.

Lastly, the defendant must be at fault. The defendant must have intended to create in the plaintiff’s mind that the defendant intends to apply harm or create an apprehension of harm. The defendant does not need to intend to carry out the threat.

Therefore, assault and battery is an offence of either a threat or the application of physical contact to another person.

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