Mel Gibson is a well-known local hothead. It came as no surprise to Southern California or Orange County residents then when officials in Sydney, Australia said they were investigating him for criminal assault or battery on a member of the paparazzi. Worse, that member was a woman, who claimed that he shoved her in the back and spit on her. Police claim they did a thorough investigation, which included talking with witnesses and reviewing security camera footage, but have ultimately decided not to file criminal charges, much to the anger of the alleged victim.
Assault and battery can be serious charges. As an Orange County criminal attorney I defend innocent people of accusations of assault and battery weekly. But most people are not subject to the careful scrutiny that Mel Gibson received before charges are filed. Unfortunately, assault and battery charges are often filed on nothing more than a simple verbal allegation, such as “he punched me.”