Double jeopardy laws save man from assault charge

PLEADING guilty to making a public nuisance has allowed a man to convince a judge to stop assault charges going ahead.

Terence John Sanderson was charged with assault after allegedly being involved in an early morning fight at a Maroochydore bus stop on January 27, 2014.

He pleaded guilty at the Maroochydore Magistrates Court in February 2014 to public nuisance and was fined $300.

The court heard he pushed a woman onto the road and fought a man who tried to defend her. When police arrived other people had restrained Sanderson.

In December 2014 Sanderson was indicted - charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.

When sentencing Sanderson the magistrate said violence was a key part of the offending.

"Well, this is fighting in the street. He has obviously been collecting a few. A few of his punches must have been effective because the other person was on the ground," the magistrate said.

Sanderson said he had been convicted in the Magistrates Court on the basis of the fight taking place and now being charged with assault was breaching double jeopardy laws that mean a person cannot be punished twice for the same crime.

Maroochydore District Court judge Gary Long agreed, and said in a published decision the magistrate had taken into account Sanderson's violence when sentencing him for public nuisance.

"It is clear that the complainant named in the indictment is the male person with whom the applicant "became engaged in an altercation" and knocked unconscious," he said.

"The punishable acts for the indicted charge must necessarily have been included as violent conduct of the applicant for the purposes of the public nuisance offence."

He ruled the assault charges be stayed.


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