This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice.  The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article.  It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem.     

What is Common Assault?

A Common Assault is where the defendant threatens to use force or actually uses force against another, giving an apprehension of fear.  There doesn’t need to be any actual injury for a Common Assault to occur.  If there is any injury then it could be for example a redness on the skin from a slap or a minor bruise from a strike or punch.  A push or a touching is another example of a common assault.   

An assault is defined in section 245 of the Criminal Code Queensland as; 

“A person who strikes, touches, or moves, or otherwise applies force of any kind to, the person of another, either directly or indirectly, without the other person’s consent, or with the other person’s consent if the consent is obtained by fraud, or who by any bodily act or gesture attempts or threatens to apply force of any kind to the person of another without the other person’s consent, under such circumstances that the person making the attempt or threat has actually or apparently a present ability to effect the person’s purpose, is said to assault that other person, and the act is called an “assault”

In this section—

“applies force” includes the case of applying heat, light, electrical force, gas, odour, or any other substance or thing whatever if applied in such a degree as to cause injury or personal discomfort. 

The Law:

Section 335 of the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899 states; 

  1. Any person who unlawfully assaults another is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable, if no greater punishment is provided, to imprisonment for 3 years.   

Elements of the Offence:- 

It is the duty of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant has committed the offence.  Every charge has a number of elements that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  For the charge of Common Assault the Prosecution must prove; 

  1. Defendant – The Prosecutor has to prove the identification of the offender; 
  2. Did Assault – The Prosecutor has to prove that an “assault” as defined at law has occurred.      
  3. Another Person – There needs to be a victim of the crime.  
  4. Without Permission – That the Defendant had no excuse for doing this (ie/ was not authorised/justified or otherwise excused at law) 

Penalty for Common Assault

The maximum penalty that a person can receive for the offence of Common Assault is 3 years.  If the matter is able to be dealt with in the Magistrates Court then the maximum penalty that a Magistrate can impose is 3 years.   


In Queensland, if a person is convicted of a Common Assault offence, then the court could impose one of the following penalties: 

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time); 
  • Intensive Corrections Order; 
  • Probation; 
  • Community Service Order; 
  • Fines. 

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant. 

Possible Defences for Common Assault:-

There are a number of defences available to charges at law.  Not every defence is available to every charge.  You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge.  Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are; 

  • Necessity; 
  • Mistake of Fact; 
  • Public Safety; 
  • Self Defence or defence of another person; 
  • Intoxication; 
  • Provocation; 
  • Accident; 
  • Duress; 
  • Compulsion; 
  • Insanity; 
  • Automatism

Which Court will your matter be heard in?

The charge of Common Assault will be heard in the Magistrates Court in Queensland.  The charge will be heard and determined by a Magistrate alone whether you plead guilty or not guilty.  There is no jury in the Magistrates Court.    

What should I do if the police want to speak to me about a common assault allegation or if I am charged with a common assault offence?

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer. 

Call an Expert 

If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over-the-phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court. Call us on 1300 066 669 or contact us online if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.

Last year, 300,000 Queensland residents became victims of crime, with car thefts and home invasions at record highs.

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Queensland witnessed:

  1. 58,479 assaults
  2. 49,490 break-ins
  3. 18,210 car thefts

Comparison with NSW

Despite Queensland’s population of 5.5 million being smaller than NSW’s 8.4 million, crime rates in Queensland were found to be 12% higher. This statistic highlights a disproportionate vulnerability to crime in Queensland compared to its neighbouring state.

If you’re in Queensland, you’re twice as likely to have your car pinched than if you’re in NSW and that’s not the kind of state that we want to see,” Queensland Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said.

Government Response

The Queensland government has introduced a new support package for victims of crime coming into effect from 1 July 2024 including; free counselling and financial aid.

I’ve been calling for a couple of years now that we should have outback camps to rebuild these young people, to show them they do have a purpose,” Crisafulli said, referencing Youth Crime. “What you do is you teach them skills. You give them a trade.”

They come away with a purpose that they know they can actually do something in life.”

As Queensland grapples with these challenges, the focus remains on implementing effective strategies to combat crime and support affected communities.

Our team are experts in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

Bestiality refers to engaging in sexual intercourse with an animal or animals. It is strictly prohibited under Queensland law as defined in the Criminal Code. Examples include performing sexual acts with animals, allowing animals to engage in sexual acts with oneself for the purpose of creating videos, or committing such acts for entertainment. Both men and women can be charged with this offence. The offence does not necessarily require penetration to constitute a crime and is also considered an act of animal cruelty.

The Law on Bestiality

According to Section 211 of the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899:

Any person who engages in penile intercourse with an animal is guilty of a crime and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.”


If convicted of bestiality in Queensland, potential penalties include:

  1. Imprisonment (suspended, parole, or actual time);
  2. Intensive Corrections Order;
  3. Probation;
  4. Community Service Order;
  5. Fines.

The actual penalty imposed depends on the circumstances of the offence and the individual background of the defendant.

Court Proceedings

Initial proceedings for bestiality charges commence in the Magistrates Court. However, due to the seriousness of the offence, the matter will ordinarily proceed to the District Court. A guilty plea results in sentencing by a judge, while a plea of not guilty leads to trial by judge and jury.

Legal Advice

If approached by police regarding such allegations, individuals have the right to remain silent. It is essential to provide police with one’s name, date of birth, and contact details but refrain from answering questions or making statements without legal representation. Contacting a criminal lawyer, such as those at Brooke Winter Solicitors, promptly is advisable for appropriate legal guidance and representation.

Our team are experts in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.


A 31 year old man was refused bail in NSW on Sunday, 30 June 2024, on allegations that he had murdered a woman known to him. Concerns have been raised at the response time of Police given the woman was found by Police “unconscious but breathing” 1 hour after a welfare call by a neighbor was made.

Assistant Commissioner McKenna said a critical incident had been declared with NSW Police to investigate the response time, and why the incident was not deemed a higher priority by emergency dispatchers.

The delay in the timing of police acknowledging that call and attending the scene has given me enough concern,” he said. “Certainly, when they [the responding officers] acknowledge the call, they were nearby and it took them only two minutes to attend the location,”


In a separate incident in Queensland, a 51-year-old has been charged with the murder of a woman of the same age known to him on Friday, 28 June 2024.

It will be alleged an altercation occurred at a Mighell property around 4.15pm where the woman sustained a fatal stab wound,” the police said.

He has now been charged with one count of murder (domestic violence offence) and is due to appear at Cairns Magistrates Court on July 1.”

Investigations are ongoing to determine what further offences the man allegedly committed after he left the scene… Police are appealing to witnesses, particularly anyone with relevant CCTV or dashcam vision, to immediately come forward.


The above occurrences of two disturbing events within such a brief timeframe show a pattern of behavior emerging across Australia, prompting heightened scrutiny and calls for vigilance.

If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of criminal experts on 1300 066 669.

A 15-year-old boy from Cunnamulla, referred to as “Jason,” will remain on bail after a failed application by police to revoke his bail. Jason, who has a significant criminal history, was granted bail on 10 May 2024 in Toowoomba Children’s Court. The police application under section 19B of the Bail Act 1980 (Qld) cited concerns about an unacceptable risk of Jason committing further offenses, specifically breaking and entering houses and stealing cars.

Court Proceedings and Decisions

In a decision delivered by Justice Davis in the Supreme Court of Brisbane, it was revealed that Jason had been convicted of numerous offenses between October 2021 and April 2024. Justice Davis described Jason as a “serial burglar and thief of motor vehicles,” noting his convictions for various crimes including:

Justice Davis also highlighted that Jason’s current alleged offenses occurred on 5 May 2024, while he was under multiple court orders including an eight-month probation, a six-month good behaviour bond, and a conditional release order from a four-month detention.

Allegations and Bail Conditions

The alleged offenses on 5 May 2024 included five counts of burglary, seven counts of attempted burglary, unlawful entry and use of a motor vehicle, and stealing petrol. Despite these serious allegations, Jason was granted bail under strict conditions. These conditions included:

Justice Davis mentioned that he lacked a transcript of the Acting Magistrate’s reasons for granting bail. However, he emphasized the Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld) which presumes in favour of granting bail to children unless there is an unacceptable risk to the community or individuals.

Legal Considerations and Final Decision

Justice Davis stated that denying bail to a 15-year-old Indigenous boy with some intellectual impairment is a severe measure and should be considered only as a last resort. He pointed out that the conditions set by the Acting Magistrate, including Jason’s relocation to his father’s supervision in Cunnamulla and the imposition of a curfew, were adequate to mitigate the risks.

He concluded that the presumption in favour of granting bail had not been rebutted and dismissed the police application to revoke Jason’s bail.

Juvenile Bail Laws in Queensland

The legal framework governing juvenile bail in Queensland is outlined in the Youth Justice Act 1992 and the Bail Act 1980. The primary principle is that detention of a child should be a last resort. The laws encourage the release of children on bail unless they pose an unacceptable risk of reoffending, failing to appear in court, or obstructing justice.

In assessing these risks, authorities consider factors such as the seriousness of the offense, the child’s criminal history, home environment, and available support systems. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, cultural considerations are also taken into account. Conditions such as curfews, non-association orders, or electronic monitoring can be imposed to ensure compliance with bail terms.

Initially, police have the authority to grant or refuse bail. Subsequent bail decisions can be reviewed by courts, which can impose additional conditions as needed. Breaching bail conditions is now a criminal offense for children. In cases involving serious offenses like murder or attempted murder, only higher courts, such as the Children’s Court of Queensland or the Supreme Court, can grant bail.

These laws aim to balance community safety with the need to minimize restrictions on the liberty of children before conviction, considering their unique circumstances and developmental needs.

Our team are experts in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.


It is a tough balancing act- but a lawyers first duty is to the court, followed by their duty to their client. 

A Lawyer’s Paramount Duty

In the legal profession, a lawyer’s duties are multifaceted, but their paramount duty is to the court and the administration of justice. This duty takes precedence over any other obligation, including their duty to their client. The rationale behind this principle is to uphold the integrity of the legal system and ensure that justice is served impartially and fairly.

Duty to the Court

A lawyer’s duty to the court encompasses several responsibilities. They must act with utmost honesty, candour, and respect towards the court, refraining from any conduct that could undermine the judicial process. This includes presenting truthful and accurate information, correcting any misstatements promptly, and adhering to court rules and procedures. Lawyers are expected to maintain decorum and professionalism in their interactions with the court, avoiding any behaviour that could be perceived as disrespectful or obstructive.

Duty to the Client

While a lawyer’s duty to the court takes precedence, they also have a significant duty to their client. This duty involves zealously advocating for their client’s interests within the bounds of the law and ethical guidelines. Lawyers must provide competent representation, maintain client confidentiality, and act in their client’s best interests. However, this duty is not absolute, and lawyers must refrain from engaging in any unlawful or unethical conduct, even if requested by their client.

The Balance

The balance between these two duties can be challenging, but it is essential for maintaining the integrity of the legal system and ensuring that justice is served fairly and impartially. By prioritising their duty to the court, lawyers uphold the rule of law and contribute to the proper administration of justice, while still fulfilling their obligations to their clients within ethical and legal boundaries.

Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors has perfected this balance. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result in accordance with the law. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.



The recent amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) represent a significant shift away from the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility that was introduced in 2006. These changes, which came into effect on May 6, 2024, aim to prioritise the best interests of the child in parenting matters.

One of the key changes is the removal of the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility (Section 61DA), which previously assumed that it was in the child’s best interests for both parents to have an equal role in making major long-term decisions about the child’s upbringing. This presumption has been criticized for creating an expectation of equal time-sharing arrangements, even in cases where such arrangements may not be suitable or practical.

Instead of this presumption, the amended Act encourages parents to consult each other about major long-term issues concerning the child, while having regard to the child’s best interests as the paramount consideration (Section 61CA). However, this consultation is only encouraged if it is safe to do so and if there are no court orders stating otherwise.

The amendments also remove the requirement for courts to consider making orders for equal time or substantial and significant time with each parent if an order for equal shared parental responsibility is made (Section 65DAA). This change aims to shift the focus away from presumptive time-sharing arrangements and towards a more individualized assessment of the child’s best interests.

Additionally, the amendments introduce a new list of factors that the court must consider when determining the child’s best interests (Section 60CC(2)). These factors include the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents, the need to protect the child from harm, and the child’s views and maturity level, among others.

Overall, these amendments represent a move towards a more child-centric approach to parenting matters, where the unique circumstances of each family and the specific needs of the child are given greater consideration, rather than relying on presumptions or prescribed time-sharing arrangements.

Our team works collaboratively with some of the best family lawyers Australia wide. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result in accordance with the law. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) in Queensland can have a significant impact on family law matters- particularly those involving parenting arrangements. 

Informing the Court

Under Section 60CF of the Family Law Act 1975, parties involved in family law proceedings are required to inform the court if they are aware of any existing DVOs involving the child or a member of the child’s family. Failure to disclose this information does not invalidate any orders made by the court. There is a legal obligation to disclose.

Assessing Risk of Family Violence

Section 60CG of the Act requires the court to consider the risk of family violence when determining parenting orders. The court must ensure that any orders made do not expose a person to an unacceptable risk of family violence. This assessment involves considering the nature of the DVO, circumstances surrounding its issuance, evidence presented, and any findings made by the court during DVO proceedings.

Prioritising Child’s Best Interests

While the court aims to make orders consistent with existing DVOs, the paramount consideration is the child’s best interests. Section 60CC(2)(a) directs the court to give greatest weight to protecting the child from physical or psychological harm, including exposure to family violence. This may result in parenting orders that override or vary certain conditions of the DVO to prioritise the child’s safety and well-being.

Inconsistencies with Parenting Orders

If a parenting order made by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia conflicts with a DVO, the parenting order takes precedence as it is a federal law. However, Section 68R of the Family Law Act allows state courts, including Queensland Magistrates Courts, to amend parenting orders to resolve any inconsistencies with the DVO, ensuring the protection order’s effectiveness is not diminished.

Weapon rather than Shield

DVOs are sometimes misused as a tactical “weapon” in family law disputes, rather than serving their intended purpose as a protective “shield.” Some parties may make false or exaggerated allegations of domestic violence to gain an advantage in parenting or property matters. This can result in unjustified DVOs being granted, which can significantly impact the other party’s rights and access to children. The Family Court will carefully scrutinize DVO applications and evidence to prevent such misuse.

In summary, the presence of a domestic violence order in Queensland is a crucial factor that the Family Court must consider when determining parenting arrangements. The court’s primary objective is to prioritize the child’s safety and best interests while respecting the protective measures outlined in the DVO, even if it means varying or overriding certain conditions to resolve any inconsistencies. 

Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors works collaboratively with some of the best family lawyers Australia wide. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result in accordance with the law. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

In April 2024 , Sydney experienced a series of unrated stabbing incidents, prompting discussion about knife-related crime in Australia. The incidents resulted in seven fatalities and several injuries, leaving the city in shock.

The first attack occurred at a busy shopping centre in Bondi Junction, where Joel Cauchi, a 40-year-old Queensland man, indiscriminately stabbed shoppers, resulting in six deaths before he was shot dead by a police officer. Two days later, another stabbing incident took place at a church in Wakeley, leaving Assyrian Orthodox preacher, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, injured.

Additionally, three other stabbing incidents occurred across Sydney during the same period, receiving less media attention but highlighting the prevalence of knife crime in the region.  

While these incidents have raised concerns about public safety, experts emphasise that violent knife crime has been on a downward trend for decades. However, they acknowledge an increase in the carrying and use of knives among certain groups, particularly young people. 

The current laws in place

11C Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) Custody of Knife in public place or school 

This section of the legislation prohibits a person from having a knife in their custody in a public place or school without a reasonable excuse. 

At the moment, the maximum penalty for this offence is 20 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years. 

What does a reasonable excuse include? 

Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and New South Wales’ Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show relatively steady rates of knife-related crimes over the past decade. However, young people are disproportionately represented in these statistics, with higher rates of involvement in violent knife crimes, such as robbery. 

In response to calls for action, the New South Wales government has undertaken reviews of existing legislation and is considering potential reforms to combat knife-related crime. This includes discussions about implementing “wanding” laws to allow police officers to conduct searches in designated areas. 

While efforts to address knife crime are underway, challenges remain, including the widespread availability of knives and the difficulty of policing their possession. Despite these challenges, stakeholders are committed to finding effective solutions to ensure public safety and reduce the incidence of knife-related violence in Sydney and across Australia. 

Our team specialise in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.


Queensland’s proposed legislation, commonly referred to as “Susan’s Law,” is a significant step in addressing the challenges posed by reckless driving and its consequences. The initiative, led by Claudine Snow, aims to establish stricter penalties for individuals engaging in dangerous driving behaviours, particularly those who evade law enforcement and cause harm or fatalities on the roads.

What is Susan’s Law?

At the core of “Susan’s Law” is a commitment to justice and accountability. The proposed legislation seeks to impose harsher penalties, with individuals found guilty of dangerous driving, evading police, and causing harm or fatalities facing potential sentences of up to 20 years in prison. This represents a notable increase from current penalties and reflects the Queensland government’s determination to combat reckless behaviour on the roads. Additionally, the law aims to hold accountable those who flee the scene of a crash after causing harm, ensuring justice for victims and their families.

The momentum behind “Susan’s Law” stems from a tragic incident in December 2022, when Claudine Snow lost her mother, sister, and her mother’s partner in a collision caused by a reckless driver. 

As Queensland moves toward implementing “Susan’s Law,” it prompts reflection on road safety and the consequences of reckless behaviour. Beyond legislative changes, it underscores the collective responsibility to promote accountability and respect on the roads. Snow’s advocacy for stricter penalties for drivers evading police adds a personal narrative to the discussion and prompts debate on the efficacy of such measures in deterring dangerous behaviour and ensuring justice for victims.

Understanding Dangerous Driving Offences in Queensland

Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle is among the most severe driving offences in Queensland, carrying the potential for imprisonment for those found guilty. Unlike many other driving offences that exist under the Transport Operations Road Use Management Act, this constitutes a criminal offence under the Queensland Criminal Code. Instances of dangerous driving encompass various scenarios, including excessive speeding, impairment due to intoxication, or participation in unlawful speed contests or any combination of these acts. 

Defining Dangerous Driving

Operating a vehicle in a hazardous manner, regardless of whether injury occurs, constitutes an offence in Queensland. Even instances of speeding alone can qualify as dangerous driving depending on relevant factors. 

Penalties for Dangerous Driving

The penalty for a dangerous driving offence varies based on the specifics of the incident. Penalties hinge primarily on whether injury or death results from the driver’s actions which can cause the charge to become aggravated. Consequences can range from a fine to imprisonment of 14 years’ imprisonment.

Understanding Careless Driving

In Queensland, operating a motor vehicle on a road or elsewhere without due care and attention or without consideration for other road users constitutes an offence. The maximum penalty for careless driving can be up to $4000- or six-months’ imprisonment.

Our team specialise in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.


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