Jane Anderson - Specialist Criminal Lawyer Adelaide

New Criminal Offence: Choking or Strangulation in a Domestic Setting

In January 2019 a new law came into effect creating a stand-alone criminal offence for choking, suffocating or strangulation in a domestic setting. Under the changes, a person commits a criminal offence if they choke, suffocate or strangle a person with whom they are, or have been, in a relationship with and without that person’s consent (s20A Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935).

The maximum penalty for such an offence is 7 years.

It is not necessary for prosecution to prove that harm was caused or intended to be caused.

The definition of ‘relationship’ is much broader than for any previous domestic violence offences. For the purpose of the offence, two people are considered to be in a domestic relationship if they are related in any of the following ways:

  1. They are married to each other; or
  2. They are domestic partners; or
  3. They are in some other form of intimate personal relationship in which their lives are interrelated; or
  4. One is the child, stepchild or grandchild, or is under the guardianship, of the other; or
  5. One is a child, stepchild or grandchild, or is under the guardianship, of a person who is or was formerly in a relationship with the other under paragraph (1), (2) or (3); or
  6. One is a child and the other is a person who acts in loco parentis (i.e. “in the place of a parent”) in relation to the child; or
  7. One is a child who normally or regularly resides or stays with the other; or
  8. They are brothers or sisters or brother and sister; or
  9. They are otherwise related to each other by or through blood, marriage, a domestic partnership or adoption; or
  10. They are related according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules; or
  11. One is the carer (within the meaning of the Carers Recognition Act 2005) of the other.

At the time of announcing this new offence, Attorney General Vickie Chapman said, “instead of being an attempted murder case where it may be more difficult to prove intent, the use of non-fatal force by strangulation is an offence in its own right, has a penalty in its own right, is easier to prosecute and easier to obtain a conviction.”

The offence created is extremely serious and carries a very heavy penalty. If you have been charged with this new criminal offence it is extremely important that you obtain expert legal advice urgently from one of our highly skilled criminal lawyers. We have experienced criminal law solicitors in both our Adelaide and Murray Bridge offices and we attend most South Australian courts. Call now to arrange an appointment.

Jane Anderson

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