Indecent Assault – Criminal Lawyers

Indecent Assault – Criminal Lawyers

Indecent Assault Lawyers Sydney

Indecent Assault- Sexual Assault- Child Abuse

Indecent Assault Introduction

At George Sten and Co Criminal Lawyers, we pride ourselves on being legal experts in the area of criminal law. Our criminal solicitors deal with indecent assault & sexual assault charges on a regular basis and have a proven track record in having charges set aside or lessened. If you have been accused of indecent assault, then you must act now and contact George Sten and Co Criminal Lawyers to ensure that you have the best chances to have your charges dropped or sentence minimised. You can contact us on 9261 8640 or email us at georgesten@criminal-lawyer.com.au. If you have an urgent matter, call our 24 hour phone line, 0412 423 569. 

What is indecent assault?

There are two possible indecent assault offences under the Crimes Act 1900.  

The first offence comes under section 61L of the Crimes Act 1900. This section states that “any person who assaults another person and, at the time of, or immediately before or after, the assault, commits an act of indecency on or in the presence of the other person, is liable to imprisonment of 5 years.”

The second offence is set out in section 61M of the Crimes Act 1900 and sets out the aggravated version of the offence outlined in section 61L.

In order to be found guilty of an offence under section 61L, the court has to prove the following:

  • The accused assaulted the complainant; and
  • The assault was indecent; and
  • The assault was without the consent of the complainant; and
  • The accused knew that the complainant was not consenting.

Each of the above matters must be proven beyond reasonable doubt in order for the court to find you guilty of a section 61L offence of indecent assault.

In order to prove that a section 61M offence occurred, the court must prove all the above elements for a section 61L offence must also prove that circumstances of aggravation exist. Section 61M(3) outlines these circumstances of aggravation as:

  • The offence was committed in company; or
  • The victim is under the age of 16 years; or
  • The victim is under the offender’s authority; or
  • The victim has a serious physical disability; or
  • The victim has a serious intellectual authority.

What is meant by ‘indecent?’

For an assault to be deemed ‘indecent,’ it must have a sexual connotation. This element of indecency can be proven if the accused touches the complainant’s body in a way, which clearly gives rise to a sexual connotation. It must be noted that an assault does not have to involve the touching itself, but can refer to the threat to touch. If the court can prove that the accused conducted themselves in a way with intention to gain sexual gratification, this is sufficient.

Case in point

In late 2016, a New South Wales couple was found guilty of 86 offences involving the torture and assault of their daughter. The offences were committed over a 15-year period. Many of these offences were section 61M offences of indecent assault involving aggravated circumstances.

Of the 86 offences committed, 73 were committed by the girl’s father and 13 were committed by her mother. Both the man and the woman pleaded not guilty to the charges, however both were found guilty by the courts.

During the trial, Judge Huggett set out, in detail, the range of implements and location used by the parents to torture the daughter. Some of the torture that took place included taking tangled barbed wire with loops on the end and nailing it around the daughter, locking her in a box overnight, holding a chainsaw to her neck, howling her head under water and putting her on an ants nest.

The judge noted that the daughter was put through excruciating pain and in one instance, she wrote a message in her own blood. The girl was involved in elite sports on a national level and if she did not perform at what her father thought was the best of her ability, he would take her to the shed when they got home to assault her.

These assaults occurred continuously for a 15 year period of time. Many of the offence occurred on special occasions.

Although the mother did not physically involve herself in the assaults, she did give her daughter instructions on how to please her father. This advice included telling the victim to make noises during sexual intercourse in order to make it better for her father. It was noted that the mother had “abused her role as a mother in the greatest way…signaled that her husband’s deviant conduct was normal”

How this case may be relevant to you

The above indecent assault case highlights the different ways that indecent assault that constitutes child abuse can come about. As the victim was under the age of 16 at the time the offences were committed and was also under the offender’s authority, the offence comes under section 61M of the Crimes Act 1900. This means that it is an aggravated offence and hence holds a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years. Even though the mother did not physically commit an assault on the daughter, she was still found liable for the offence. So, even if you did not physically assault a person, but were somehow involved in the orchestration of, or threat of the assault, you may still be charged with indecent assault.

What to do if you have been accused or charged with indecent assault

Indecent assault is a very serious offence that may lead to a term of imprisonment. Whenever your freedom is in jeopardy, you must act fast to find out as much information about your situation as possible. If you have been accused of or charged with indecent assault, then it is crucial that you have an experienced legal defence team on your side. Our criminal solicitors will provide you with accurate legal advice and will guide you on the legal process for handling your case. To contact us, call (02) 9261 8640 or email us at georgesten@criminal-lawyer.com.au. If your matter is critical, call us on our dedicated 24 hour phone line, 0412 423 569.