Aggravated Assault: What You Need to Know

Aggravated assault is a severe type of assault that is considered to be just short of causing death. This crime is committed when a person's actions result in another person being injured, disfigured, maimed, or when their life is put in danger.

  • Wound: refers to a break in the skin.
  • Maim: means to injure someone to the extent that they are significantly less capable of defending themselves.
  • Disfigure: involves causing lasting damage to a person's physical appearance beyond temporary impairment.
  • Endangering someone's life: refers to a situation where a person's life is put at risk, even if they do not suffer any actual bodily harm.

For example, if a person is left with a permanent facial scar after being hit with a broken beer bottle during a bar fight, this would be considered aggravated assault.

Necessary Evidence for a Conviction of Aggravated Assault

To secure a conviction for aggravated assault, the Crown prosecutor must establish the time and location of the incident, the identity of the perpetrator, and prove that the accused:

  • Intentionally applied force to the victim and foresaw that bodily harm could result;
  • The victim sustained more than trivial or temporary injuries; and
  • The injuries led to the victim being wounded, maimed, disfigured, or had their life endangered.

Unlike other criminal offences, the Crown prosecutor does not need to prove that the accused intended to maim, wound, or disfigure the victim. The required intent is simply the objective foresight of bodily harm.

Factors that determine self-defence in an aggravated assault case

Self-defence is the most common defence against an aggravated assault charge. To establish self-defence, the accused must demonstrate that they believed they were being assaulted and that their actions were reasonable given the circumstances.

Consequences of an aggravated assault conviction

A conviction for aggravated assault is an indictable offence that carries a maximum penalty of fourteen years' imprisonment. If you have a criminal record and would like to erase it, or you are facing criminal charges, it is essential to contact a criminal defence lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and help you mount an effective defence.

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