Spent conviction granted in serious assault occasioning bodily harm case

We recently acted in a long-running Magistrates court trial involving a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm. Our client, a first offender, was attacked by the accused during a night out in Fremantle, for no reason. The client suffered serious injuries including bruising, a dislocated jaw, and broken glasses. The client remained in the area after the assault to wait for the police. A mere ten minutes later, after protracted arguments and repeated threatening conduct from the accused, our client tacked the accused and assaulted him by way of a pre-emptive strike. The accused was knocked unconscious and had to be hospitalized. Our client remained at the scene and performed first aid until police attended.

At trial, extensive evidence was led from the client, and in cross-examination from a prosecution witness, that our client acted in self-defence. Unfortunately, at trial, the Magistrate found that our client did not fear the accused any longer given the passage of time from the first incident, but rather acted out of anger. However, given the extensive evidence we had led at trial in support of self-defence, including extensive medical evidence of the injuries our client suffered, the Magistrate was persuaded to impose a spent conviction for the offence. This was so notwithstanding the seriousness of the matter and the fact a spent conviction would not ordinarily have been granted. It was noted that the ‘Statement of Material Facts’ document contained no reference to the earlier assault by the accused upon our client, and had the client pleaded guilty to those facts, it is almost certain a spent conviction order would not have been imposed.

This fantastic result means that our client was able to resume working in the mines and was not limited in their future employment opportunities.

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