Sexual assault

In plain English, sexual assault refers to  unwanted sexual touching or other behaviour.  The offence is contained in section 352 of the Queensland Criminal Code, which defines sexual assault as when a person:

  • unlawfully and indecently assaults another person; or
  • procures another person, without the person’s consent to commit an act of gross indecency; or to witness an act of gross indecency by the person or any other person;

The maximum penalty is life imprisonment where the accused is armed or pretends to be armed with a dangerous weapon, is in the company of another person, or where there is penetration by any thing that is not a penis.  Otherwise, the maximum penalty is 14 years' imprisonment if the assault includes any form of contact between the genitals and mouth, and 10 years' imprisonment in all other cases.

It is a defence to the charge if the complainant consenting to the touching, or the accused honestly and reasonably believed that the complainant consented.  Other defences include that the touching or act was not indecent, and that an act of assault did not in fact occur.  You can read more about the mistake of fact defence here and here.  There are other possible defences.  Each case is unique and requires a tailored strategy to ensure the best possible outcome in the circumstances.

Early legal advice is essential if you have been charged with sexual assault.  Decisions made early on in proceedings may have a huge impact at your trial.  Preparation is a key aspect of mounting a strong legal defence.