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Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm III

Potts Lawyers > Our Results  > Violence Offences > Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm III


Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm


Michael Purcell and Sinead Garland


Southport Magistrates Court




Our client, a paramedic, had been out for dinner and drinks with a group of friends. He consumed a significant amount of alcohol throughout the night which is described as being out of character. At the end of the night, our client walked to a taxi rank to go home and came across a man lying face down in the prone position. Although our client was intoxicated, his work instincts triggered and he went to assist the man.

Unfortunately, when he went to assist the man (Victim), he was met with verbal abuse. He then received a firm push from the Victim to the chest, which resulted in him being pushed several steps. Feeling threatened, our client reacted to the Victim’s push by assaulting the Victim.

Feeling remorseful, our client returned to the scene of the incident moments later and offered to assist the Victim by calling an ambulance and police. The Victim declined our client’s assistance. Subsequently, our client went to Surfers Paradise Police Station to report the incident to police. He made full and frank admissions to police. Our client was subsequently charged with Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm.

Following the incident, our client sought legal advice from Michael Purcell and Sinead Garland of Potts Lawyers. He instructed that his occupation was as a paramedic and as such, his registration was overseen by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Authority (APHRA). Accordingly, if our client received a conviction for this offence, it could potentially jeopardise his future employment as a paramedic. It was therefore important for our client to avoid a conviction being recorded.

Our client, with our assistance, took significant steps towards rehabilitation by:

  • engaging in regular treatment with 2 Psychologists;
  • ceasing to use alcohol following the incident;
  • completing an anger management course and an alcohol diversion program;
  • writing a letter of apology to the Victim; and
  • offering to pay compensation to the Victim for any pain and suffering caused by his actions.

By strongly investing himself in these rehabilitative steps, our client was in a position to obtain the best possible outcome.

During his treatment, it became evident to his treating psychologists that his overreaction to the Victim’s threat (being firmly pushed) was likely due to a combination of things being that he was:

  • highly intoxicated at the time of the offending;
  • suffering from untreated post-traumatic stress disorder
  • fearful of being assaulted as he had been a victim of unprovoked assaults in the past.



At the sentence hearing, the prosecution urged the Court to impose a term of imprisonment as a proper punishment. Whilst this did not necessarily mean that an actual term of imprisonment would be served, it would by law mean that a conviction had to be recorded. Mr Purcell tendered a number of documents to assist the court in determining the appropriate sentence which included a very detailed psychologist’s pre-sentence report. The report indicated our client’s deep remorse for the offending and stated that the risk of him reoffending could be successfully managed by ongoing psychological treatment.

Mr Purcell also made oral submissions to the court which emphasised our client’s lack of criminal history, his cooperation with the administration of justice, his strong efforts towards rehabilitation and his commitment to undergo further counselling.

Despite the serious nature of the offence, the court accepted Michael Purcell’s submissions and sentenced our client to 2 years’ probation, 240 hours of unpaid community service and payment of restitution in the sum of $1,500.00 to the Victim. After careful consideration, the court decided that it was in the public interest, not to record a conviction against our client.

For those in similar occupation seeking advice on APHRA requirements, Potts Lawyers teams of civil lawyers also routinely represent clients facing disciplinary consequences. Please click on the link to Potts Lawyers litigation expert, Jason Papoutsis, and his article on APHRA regulating paramedics and paramedicine students here.


This is a summary of an actual case. Details have been omitted to protect the privacy of our client. We select cases which are informative and no guarantee is provided that similar results are achievable in all cases. Every case is different and you should obtain legal advice specific to your matter and circumstances.

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