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Sexual assault is a common offence in our Criminal Justice System, and a charge that our Sydney-based sexual assault lawyers are adept at handling. Our criminal law firm has extensive experience representing clients facing sexual assault charges, whether allegations result from a drunken night out, claims of assault from decades ago, or claims of sexual or indecent assault from a vengeful ex-partners.

The clients we have represented are often those without any criminal history at all, finding themselves facing a jail sentence. It is the type of offence that can be easily charged, evidence often being manufactured or embellished by the alleged victim.

All too often our clients are faced with false allegations, and are forced to face extremely serious criminal charges, and suffer social degradation as a result of the charges.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any sexual act that someone does not want or is unable to consent to, including penetration, oral sex, incest, as well as unwanted and inappropriate sexual touching. Sexual assault does not have to involved alcohol or drugs, but it is more likely that it will occur while someone is under the influence of substances.

Consent is the fundamental concept at the core of all sexual assault cases. Consent is when someone freely and voluntarily, without coercion, intimidation or threat, agrees to sexual intimacy. Sexual partners must receive active consent, it cannot be assumed. Consent can also not be given by a person who is incoherently and uncontrollably drunk or high, or unconscious. If the victim does not consent to the sexual activity, touching or act, then it constitutes sexual assault.

What makes sexual offences so complex, and often difficult to prosecute, is that there is often a distinct lack of evidence, hearsay, and “he-said, she-said” regarding consent or alleged lack thereof.

How Serious is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is an extremely serious charges that almost inevitably leads to a sentence of full time imprisonment, if found guilty. It is important that you instruct an experienced sexual assault criminal lawyer if you have been charged or anticipate that you will be charged.

Crimes Act 1900 No 40 6L1

This subdivision of the Crimes Act states: “Any person who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person and who knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.”

What is the Difference Between Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse and Indecent Assault?

Important legal distinctions have been drawn to distinguish between the different kinds of sexual offences that can be committed against adults and children. These distinctions include sexual touching (indecent assault), sexual assault and sexual abuse.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault involves sexual intercourse (any kind of penetration i.e. oral, digital, genital) with another person without obtaining consent from that person. It is a serious charge and carries a 14 year maximum jail term. There are also more extreme subdivisions of sexual assault like aggravated sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault in company, which both carry exponentially harsher prison sentences..

Sexual Abuse

The Crimes Act 1900 No 40 66EA defines sexual abuse as any unlawful sexual relationship which is carried out between an adult and a child (a person under the age of 16 years). What constitutes this “relationship” is the engagement of two or more unlawful sexual acts with the child over any period. This is also a serious crime, and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Sexual touching

Sexual touching relates to the criminal offence of sexually touching an alleged victim without their consent, or inciting a third party to sexually touch the victim or vice versa. This is usually a lesser charge, and carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

What are Circumstances of Sexual Assault?

Unfortunately, sexual assault can occur anywhere, at any time. However, it is also incredibly common for sexual assault to occur privately, and between people who know each other. This makes sexual assault a complex case for prosecutors, as it is often difficult to acquire clear, convincing,  physical evidence of the assault in question.

What are the Charges of Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault covers a wide range of sexual offences, including sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault in company and assault with intent to have sexual intercourse, all of which are covered in detail in the Crimes Act 1900 No 40.

What Are Your Options When Charged With Sexual Assault?

Plead not guilty:

In order to be convicted of this offence, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had nonconsensual sexual intercourse with a person and that you knew the other person did not consent or were reckless in that fact. If this cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.

Our experienced criminal lawyers will advise you of your prospects of successfully defending any charge brought against you and fight to have you found not guilty of the offence.

Plead guilty:

If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition as well as meaning that you will be entitled to a discount on your sentence. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.

The offence of Sexual Assault carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment in the District Court. Sexual Assault is considered an extremely serious offence. We advise that you contact an experienced sexual assault lawyer immediately if you are charged with this offence.

The charge of “Aggravated Sexual Assault” is simply “Sexual Assault”, however in circumstances of aggravation. In other words, it is a more serious incident/s of sexual assault. Circumstances of aggravation include injury resulting from the assault, committing the offence in company, and particular vulnerabilities of the victim. The law is set out below.

Aggravated sexual assault is a very serious offence, almost inevitably leading to a sentence of full time imprisonment if found guilty.

Our solicitors at LY Lawyers have been very successful in challenging these charges, and more recently have achieved an acquittal for our client in the Sydney District Court following a trial by jury in June 2014, before Judge Hoy. The case involved multiple “historical” sexual assault allegations said to have taken place more than 20 years ago.

What Are Your Options When Charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault?

Plead not guilty:

To be convicted of aggravated sexual assault, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had nonconsensual sexual intercourse with a person, behaved in an intentionally malicious and reckless way, inflicted bodily harm or threatened to inflict actual bodily harm, deprived them of their liberty, were in the company of others, or committed sexual assault owards a person under 16 years of age, who had cognitive impairment or serious physical disability. 

Where the alleged victim is under the age of 16 years, the age of the victim is an additional element that the prosecution will have to prove.

If any of the above elements cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.

Our experienced criminal lawyers will advise you of your prospects of successfully defending any charge brought against you and fight to have you found not guilty of the offence.

Plead guilty:

If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition as well as meaning that you will be entitled to a discount on your sentence. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.

The offence of Aggravated Sexual Assault carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment in the District Court. Aggravated Sexual Assault is considered an extremely serious offence. We advise that you contact one of our solicitors immediately if you are charged with this offence.

The term “Indecent assault” was repealed from the NSW legislation in 2015, and is now covered by the subdivision of sexual touching. Indecent assault terminology is still important for historical cases which date back to, and beyond 2018, as these cases can still be charged under the now repealed indecent assault clause. 

Sexual touching is generally dealt with in the Local Courts of NSW, where the jurisdictional maximum penalty for a guilty verdict is 2 years imprisonment. However, where the circumstances of the assault/s are serious, the DPP will often elect to have the charges heard in the District Court, where the maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment. Our solicitors at LY Lawyers have conducted countless Local Court defended hearings ourselves, and have been extremely successful in achieving “not guilty” verdicts for our clients.

Indecent Assaults can be considered extremely serious, and it is important that you obtain legal advice and instruct a specialist Criminal Lawyer to defend you in these proceedings.

What Are Your Options When Charged with Indecent Assault?

Plead not guilty:

To be convicted of indecent assault/sexual touching, the police must prove that you assaulted another person, and that it was an act of indecency. In some cases, police may want to level more severe aggravated charges at alleged perpetrators. In these cases, they must be able to prove you were in the company of another person or persons, that the alleged victim was under the authority of you, that they have a serious physical disability or cognitive impairment as a result of your actions.

If any of the above elements cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.

Our experienced criminal lawyers will advise you of your prospects of successfully defending any charge brought against you and fight to have you found not guilty of the offence.

Plead guilty:

If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.

Indecent Assault and Aggravated Indecent Assault are considered to be serious offences. We advise that you contact one of our solicitors immediately if you are charged with either of these offences.

Committing an “act of indecency” is a less common, and often a less serious charge in terms of sexual assaults. The reason for this is that acts of indecency often fall short of touching or penetration. For instance, acts of indecency might include non-consensual exhibitionistic or voyeuristic behaviour deemed offensive by a reasonable person, such as exposing oneself to an unsuspecting person.

The offence of Act of Indecency carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $2,200.00 and/or 12 months imprisonment in the Local Court and 18 months imprisonment in the District Court.

Very often, the evidence can come down to one witness’s version of what he/she saw, which can often be the subject of challenge in court.

What Are Your Options When Charged with an Act of Indecency?

Plead not guilty:

To be convicted of an act of indecency, police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed an act of indecency with or towards another person, or that you incited someone to do so on your behalf. 

If any of the above elements cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.

Plead guilty:

If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition as well as meaning that you will be entitled to a discount on your sentence. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.

Depending on the seriousness of the offending, Act of Indecency is an offence that can be dealt with pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentence Procedure) Act, meaning no conviction will be recorded, there is no other penalty and you will have no criminal record. To find out more about a section 10, click here.

With the abundance of access to material over the internet, these charges are becoming much more common in our society today. Sexual crimes involving children are considered especially serious, and are heavily punished. The production, dissemination and/or possession of child abuse material can carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, or more depending on the nature of the crimes. 

It is surprising how many of our clients do not understand the seriousness of charges of possessing material obtained from the internet relating to child abuse. It is not until they are charged and face court, and possible jail time, that they fully appreciate the seriousness of these offences.

What Are Your Options When Charged with Production, Dissemination or Possession of Child Abuse Material (State Charge)?

Plead not guilty:

To be convicted of this offence, police must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you produced, disseminated or possessed child abuse material. This means they must prove that you either sent, supplied or exhibited the illicit material, filmed, photographed or printed the illicit material, or entered into an agreement or arrangement for a third party to do so on your behalf.

If none of the above elements can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.

If the above elements can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, you can still be found not guilty if you prove that you did not know, or could not reasonably be expected to have known that you possessed, disseminated or produced child abuse material. For an offence involving possession, it is a defence if you can establish that the child abuse material came into your possession unsolicited and as soon as you became aware of it, you took reasonable steps to get rid of it.

Our experienced criminal defence lawyers will advise you of your prospects of successfully defending any charge brought against you and fight to have you found not guilty of the offence.

Plead guilty:

If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition as well as meaning that you will be entitled to a discount on your sentence. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.

The offence of Production, dissemination or possession of child abuse material is considered an extremely serious offence, and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment in the District Court.

What Are Your Options When Charged with Using a Carriage Service for Child Pornography Material?


While this is a lesser charge than producing and disseminating, it can still be a serious indictable offence which requires legal representation by a specialist lawyer.

Plead not guilty:

In order to be convicted of this offence, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally accessed, transmitted, published, solicited or distributed child pornography material, and that you did so using a carriage service, like a computer or mobile phone.

If any of the above elements cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.

Plead guilty:

If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition. 

Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.

The offence of using a carriage service for child pornography material carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment in the District Court. Using a carriage service for child pornography material is considered an extremely serious offence. 

Penalties that a court can impose for any criminal offence in NSW are:

Sexual Assault Case Study Examples

All too often our clients are faced with exaggerated, misleading, or entirely false allegations from vengeful ex-partners, which have the potential to result in serious criminal charges, jail time, social degradation, monetary cost and possible loss of custody. Fortunately, we have a team of experienced criminal lawyers who have been successful in countless jury trials on behalf of clients facing sexual assault charges.

Our client was charged with sexual intercourse without consent, and two sequences of assault with act of indecency.

We instructed Counsel in a two week trial at Sydney District Court in November 2019. It was an extremely difficult case against our client.

A Colombian international, our client was alleged to have assaulted a female work colleague at an after party at her house.

The complainant was cross-examined extensively about the events she said occurred on that evening. She was ultimately found to have too many inconsistencies in her version, the jury making their decision in a mere couple of hours.

Our client was found not guilty of all charges.

He has gone back home to his family in Colombia, after almost 18 months of not seeing his family.

Our client was charged with sexual assault of a child under 16 years of age.

He strongly denied the allegations.

We applied for bail before Justice Ierace in the Supreme Court shortly after our client’s arrest and incarceration. Despite finding that it was a strong prosecution case, His Honour granted bail, with strict conditions imposed.

Mr. Ly, our Principal, instructed Senior Counsel in appearing at Trial before Her Honour Judge Trail at Sydney District Court in May 2020.

It was an extremely difficult cross-examination of the complainant (where she was extensively discredited), however following completion of our Senior Counsel’s cross-examination, the Prosecution sought to withdraw all charges against our client.

Our client remains a free man, avoiding what would have been lengthy gaol sentence.

Our client was charged with four charges:

  1. Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm;
  2. Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily harm with intent to have sexual intercourse;
  3. Sexual intercourse without consent;
  4. Sexual intercourse without consent;

Our client pleaded not guilty to all except the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and a jury found him not guilty of the other three charges.

Our client was in a relationship with the complainant, who gave evidence that they were both at a dinner with her friends at which he became drunk, aggressive, started to assault her and subsequently had non-consensual intercourse with her at her house later that evening. The complainant went to the doctor the next day and complained of having been physically assaulted by our client but did not mention sexual assault. She also complained to her friends about a physical assault but not a sexual assault. The complainant then recommenced a relationship with our client and did not complain to the Police until they separated several months later.

There were several inconsistencies in the complainant’s evidence, including evidence given by her friend which regarded our client as calm and happy at dinner, her muddled recount of where and when the assaults occurred, and her inability to recall that he did not spend the night with her.

The Jury found our client not guilty after a four day trial. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the assault occasioning actual bodily harm, with 14 months non parole. He was released from custody the same day. Our client had a history of violence, including domestic violence. He had been in custody waiting for the trial.

Meet our Founder

Adam Ly, B. Ec. (Majoring in Economics), LL.B.

Managing Director and Principal Lawyer

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Achieving results one case at a time

The team at LY Lawyers were great to deal with, after getting charged with a minor offence. The costs were upfront and affordable. Communication was great and I felt like they really cared about me. If I was ever in trouble again they would be my first point of call for help.

Sarah Davies

Ly Lawyers
5.0
2017-02-01T00:09:03+00:00

Sarah Davies

The team at LY Lawyers were great to deal with, after getting charged with a minor offence. The costs were upfront and affordable. Communication was great and I felt like they really cared about me. If I was ever in trouble again they would be my first point of call for help.

Achieving results one case at a time

What a result from a great team!

Adam handled my case and put everything he had into it. He's a great lawyer at affordable fees. Would highly recommend.

John L.

Ly Lawyers
5.0
2017-02-01T01:38:38+00:00

John L.

What a result from a great team! Adam handled my case and put everything he had into it. He's a great lawyer at affordable fees. Would highly recommend.

Achieving results one case at a time

Highly recommend! Joseph handled my case and got the result he said i would, communication was great and his advice on what to do to help my case was great, dont hesitate to give them a call if you ever need legal help.

Todd Hurring

Ly Lawyers
5.0
2017-06-25T22:46:32+00:00

Todd Hurring

Highly recommend! Joseph handled my case and got the result he said i would, communication was great and his advice on what to do to help my case was great, dont hesitate to give them a call if you ever need legal help.

Achieving results one case at a time

Want to say a big thanks to Adam and the team, was looking at jail without a doubt, already had 2 other common assaults, a GBH, and a fair few other charges on my record and facing another GBH. Never done jail before and thought this was my time for sure. Great service from them, Adam always answered my calls and step me through everything the whole way. Managed to stay out of jail with a ICO order, big win, thanks again, highly recommend

Breno T.

Ly Lawyers
5.0
2017-06-25T22:53:27+00:00

Breno T.

Want to say a big thanks to Adam and the team, was looking at jail without a doubt, already had 2 other common assaults, a GBH, and a fair few other charges on my record and facing another GBH. Never done jail before and thought this was my time for sure. Great service from them, Adam always answered my calls and step me through everything the whole way. Managed to stay out of jail with a ICO order, big win, thanks again, highly recommend

Achieving results one case at a time

I just wanted to say a big thank you to LY Lawyers. My husband just got his sentence at Parramatta District Court last week, expecting to be in jail a lot longer. He was charged with supplying commercial drugs. LY Lawyers represented him with great passion and commitment, all of their staff chipping in to get a short sentence. Only a year to go before he gets out!

Kim Smith

Ly Lawyers
5.0
2017-06-25T22:53:58+00:00

Kim Smith

I just wanted to say a big thank you to LY Lawyers. My husband just got his sentence at Parramatta District Court last week, expecting to be in jail a lot longer. He was charged with supplying commercial drugs. LY Lawyers represented him with great passion and commitment, all of their staff chipping in to get a short sentence. Only a year to go before he gets out!

Achieving results one case at a time

It was a pleasure to work with LY Lawyers. They got me off from my charge. Could not thank them enough!

William Song

Ly Lawyers
5.0
2017-06-25T22:54:34+00:00

William Song

It was a pleasure to work with LY Lawyers. They got me off from my charge. Could not thank them enough!

Achieving results one case at a time

Joseph was amazing and did a fine job representing me in my case. He got the job done and got me the result I wanted.

Habib Rahman

Ly Lawyers
5.0
2017-06-25T22:55:09+00:00

Habib Rahman

Joseph was amazing and did a fine job representing me in my case. He got the job done and got me the result I wanted.

Achieving results one case at a time

Joseph you did an amazing job representing me at Sydney District court . My prior lawyer didn't do anything for me in the local court, but u guys were great in the district court. Thanks for being patient with me too.

Josh Tyler

Ly Lawyers
5.0
2017-06-25T22:56:43+00:00

Josh Tyler

Joseph you did an amazing job representing me at Sydney District court . My prior lawyer didn't do anything for me in the local court, but u guys were great in the district court. Thanks for being patient with me too.

Achieving results one case at a time

I just wanted to say thank you for helping me with my case and THANK YOU for the section 10!

Craig H

Ly Lawyers
5.0
2017-06-25T22:57:53+00:00

Craig H

I just wanted to say thank you for helping me with my case and THANK YOU for the section 10!
5.0
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