WHAT DOES ASSAULT MEAN IN TERMS OF THE LAW IN SOUTH AFRICA?
Assault is defined as the unlawfully and intentionally applying force to another person, or inspiring a belief in that other person that force is to be applied to him or her.
There is a clear distinction in criminal law between common assault and assault involving serious physical injury. In South Africa, this type of assault is identified by the description “assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm”, which is more commonly referred to as “assault GBH”. Assault GBH normally carries a heavier sentence, such as imprisonment, whereas common assault is usually only penalised with a fine.
But the process of determining which charge should be investigated should be objective. The investigating officer should not determine whether it is common assault or assault GBH, and therefore whether an arrest should follow. Any form of assault should result in an immediate arrest. Even the courts cannot easily ascertain whether intent to cause bodily harm is present in a case of assault, relying on factors such as the nature of the weapon used, the degree of force and the actual injuries sustained.
WHAT TO DO IN THE CASE OF BEING CHARGED WITH ASSAULT
If you face a charge of assault, you need to speak to one of our experienced criminal defence attorneys at Burger Huyser Attorneys in Johannesburg. Assault GBH is a serious offence as you may be sentenced to imprisonment.
It is highly advisable that you appoint a specialist who has adequate knowledge of criminal law backed with sufficient experience in courtroom procedures and criminal investigation who can legally advise you. Choose one of our experts at Burger Huyser Attorneys to defend you.