What is Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm? (“AOABH”)

AOABH is defined as a ‘hurt or injury that interferes with the health or comfort of the person assaulted’. The act causes another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence, and there is actual bodily harm sustained to that person.

Whether or not the accused intended to commit the offence does not matter at law. Recklessness will suffice. (ie. the accused realised that an injury may be sustained and took that risk anyway.)

Examples of AOABH include:

  • A physical injury that results in a scratch, bruise  (or other injury that is not grievous) as a result of touching, pushing, kicking, striking, or slapping another person.
  • A psychological injury that exceeds fleeting ‘emotions, feelings and states of mind.’

AOABH is NOT an impermanent injury such as swelling or grazes that rapidly subside. The injury must be more than transient or trifling.

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