Offense of assault causing death while intoxicated, in NSW – felony

A New South Wales man has been charged with assault causing death over the death of a security guard outside the Royal Hotel in Sutherland, in Sydney’s south.

The 30-year-old security guard, who moved from Saudi Arabia to Australia for work and study, was allegedly assaulted at around 2am on Sunday by Brian Edmund Brown, from Peakhurst, who was asked by the security guard to leave due to his level of intoxication.

The officers were told that security did hit his head and fell unconscious.

Police and paramedics arrived at the scene, but attempts to resuscitate the guard were unsuccessful and he died at the scene.

Meanwhile, the police have charged the man with causing bodily harm resulting in death while intoxicated.

He was taken into custody Sutherland Local Court.

One point laws

The offenses of assault causing death and assault causing death while intoxicated are colloquially known as “one strike” laws.

The New South Wales Parliament passed these laws in 2014 in response to a number of alcohol-related assaults resulting in deaths in and around the Sydney CBD.

These offenses were accompanied exclusion zones in and around Sydney CBD as well as freezing new liquor licenses and closing bottle shops nationwide at 10 p.m.

The offense of assault causing death while intoxicated in NSW

Assault while intoxicated causing death is an offense under section 25A(2) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment.

He also faces a minimum prison sentence of 8 years.

To establish a criminal offense, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. You were at least 18 years old,

  2. You assaulted another person

  3. you did it on purpose

  4. You did it by hitting the other person with any part of your body or with an object you were holding,

  5. The attack was not authorized or excused by law,

  6. The assault caused the death of another person and

  7. You were under the influence of alcohol or any other drug or substance at the time of your act.

The assault caused the death of the other person regardless of whether the other person was killed as a result of injuries directly or indirectly caused by the assault or by striking the ground or an object as a result of the assault.

The prosecution does not have to prove that death was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of your actions.

Evidence of the presence and concentration of any alcohol, drug or other substance may be provided by a breath, blood or urine test certificate.

You are considered drunk if you had a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.150.

Legal defenses

The law clearly states that a person is not guilty of a crime if:

  • Your drunkenness was not self-inflicted, or

  • You had a significant cognitive impairment that was not self-inflicted.

“Cognitive impairment” includes:

  1. mental disability,

  2. developmental disorder, including autism spectrum disorder,

  3. neurological disorder,

  4. Dementia,

  5. Mental illness, or

  6. Brain injury.

Common law defenses also apply to charges, including self-defense and duress.

Self-defense is the main common law defense used against a charge of assault causing death.

in this respect section 418 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)provides that a person is not criminally liable if he believes that his acts were carried out in Self defenseand the behavior is an appropriate response to the circumstances as he or she perceives them.

Defense is available where the action is necessary to:

a) defend yourself or another person, or

b) to prevent or end the illegal deprivation of one’s freedom or the freedom of another person, or

(c) protect property from illegal removal, destruction, damage or interference, or

d) to prevent criminal trespass to any land or object or to remove a person who has committed such a crime.

When evidence of self-defense is presented, the burden shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defense does not apply.

The defendant has the right to be acquitted if the prosecution is unable to do so.

Go to court?

If you are Mrto court on assault chargescall Sydney Criminal Lawyers on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free initial conference with an experienced barrister who will assess your situation, advise you on your options and the best way forward and fight for the optimum outcome.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the issue. Professional advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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