An accusation of assault can be a very difficult and confusing experience. The criminal defence solicitors at Wilford Smith, with many years experience in representing clients who find themselves in such a position, understand the circumstances that lead to such charges are often complicated. These circumstances require to be carefully analysed in order to challenge assault allegations or to effectively conduct a defence, such as self defence. Our lawyers specialise in cases involving all types of assault, including common assault, actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm.
Wilford Smith's criminal defence lawyers take pride in their reputation for unique representation, giving our clients a service that is exceptionally strategic and results driven. From the first police interview, our team take a proactive approach by providing clients with the highest quality advice. We will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights and interests are protected, and that the police carry out their investigations and interviews in a proper and fair manner. It is vital that you have sophisticated and astute legal expertise at hand in order to conduct a robust defence in relation to any charges made against you. The criminal defence solicitors at Wilford Smith have the required skills, knowledge and determination to ruthlessly develop a top-level strategy on your behalf, ensuring the best outcome in any case. Call us today to find out how we can help.
What is assault?
Assault is a general term used to describe a range of offences that are committed against the person. In many cases, self defence will be argued as a defence in assault cases. For such a defence to succeed, the accused will need to demonstrate that they acted reasonably in the circumstances. A defence of self defence will not be successful if the assault was committed as an act of retaliation, or if the amount of force used was excessive in order for the accused to defend himself or herself, or another party. Provocation will not be an effective defence to a charge of assault.
There are a number of different types of assault, and each is dealt with differently by the courts:
Common assault is the least serious form of assault. Cases of this nature are heard in the Magistrates Court. It is not necessary that the victim suffered physical harm, or even that any physical contact takes place, only that they experienced the immediate fear that they were going to be assaulted. The court will often deal with a case more seriously if it is shown that physical harm has in fact been suffered.
Actual bodily harm (ABH)
ABH is considered a more serious offence, and cases are heard in the Magistrates Court or Crown Court depending on the nature of the offence. For a charge of ABH, it is required that the victim has suffered something more than minor injuries and that actual harm has been caused.
Grievous bodily harm (GBH)
GBH involves the malicious inflicting of serious injury, such as broken bones or an injury resulting in the victim suffering a permanent disability. These charges may also follow an incident when a victim has suffered injury resulting from the transmission of a communicable disease or psychological harm. Cases of GBH will be heard either in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court.
Causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent
GBH with intent is the most serious assault charge that can be brought, with cases only being heard in the Crown Court. For a successful prosecution, it must be demonstrated that the accused intended to case the victim grievous bodily harm; it is not enough only to show that injuries have been caused.
Assault on a police officer
There is a specific charge of assault on a police officer in the course of their duties. This offence also applies to assaults committed against community support officers. Cases of this nature are heard in the Magistrates Court.
Contact our Assault Defence Solicitors in Sheffield and London
If you are suspected of committing an assault, it is important you seek specialist legal advice at the earliest stage possible. The criminal defence solicitors at Wilford Smith appear in court regularly, providing representation from the first hearing through to trial, and can attract the highest calibre barristers to provide support when necessary.
Our criminal defence teams are based in Sheffield and London and provide advice and representation to clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.