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Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm charges downgraded following pillow fight

Lawyer-in-charge: Lara Menon

Our client, who had previous criminal charges involving drink driving, was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm following a pillow fight with his girlfriend, and with intimidation following a separate incident with the same girlfriend. The parties were in a domestic relationship, and one night our client’s girlfriend was refusing to allow our client to get into bed. The pair then engaged in what can be described as a pillow fight.

Following this, the girlfriend made a report to police and told them that the assault resulted in a black eye. During the same interview, the girlfriend told Police that our client had taken a loaded rifle and held it over her stomach while she was pregnant, which allegedly occurred quite some time prior, among many other accusations. Our client was ultimately charged with Assault occasioning actual bodily harm and stalk/intimidate. Police arrested our client, and he agreed to participate in an electronically recorded interview. During the interview, our client made admissions to hitting the victim with a pillow.

Lara made representations to police that the criminality of hitting the victim with a pillow during a pillow fight did not support a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. There was also insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the pillow had caused the injury. The Police agreed and downgraded the charge to common assault. The stalk/intimidate charge proceeded to hearing and a verdict of not guilty achieved. On sentencing for the common assault charge, Lara made submissions to the Court that the criminality of the offence sat at the lower end of the objective sale of seriousness. Our client was sentenced to a Community Corrections Order with conditions that the client undertake alcohol abuse and domestic violence related courses.

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