Usually all the damage that a pair of tall shoes can do is sore feet, blisters and perhaps a twisted ankle.
But this kind of shoe actually be used to inflict some serious damage.
While not the most common type of weapon, a pair of stiletto heels was the instrument of choice for one woman.
One 26-year-old woman was involved in a fight that took place as Cockle bay Wharf in Sydney at around midnight on June 22 this year.
She had taken her shoe and thrown it at a police sergeant, resulting in a deep cut in his head.
She was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Her lawyer says it is most likely that she will plead guilty to the charge.
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm is a step-up from common assault, which can include various behaviour, even that which does cause any harm, and it does not even have to make contact with the victim.
Spitting at a police officer can constitute assault and even threats can constitute common assault too, as long as there is a threat or fear of immediate violence.
In contrast, assault which causes actual bodily harm is more serious, even though the injuries don’t have to be major. Cuts or bruises will suffice, as long as they are more than just ‘transient or trifling’; in other words, as long as they’re more than just very trivial. This includes the injury suffered by the policeman, when the stiletto made contact with his head.
In order to prove actual bodily harm, the police must show, beyond reasonable doubt, that these five things were present:
- The behaviour of the accused cause another person to fear immediate and unlawful violence or touched them without consent
- The victim had not consented to the actions of the accused
- That the accused acted intentionally or recklessly
- That there was no lawful excuse for the behaviour of the accused
- The injury must be more than transient or trifling – such as bruises, scratches or serious psychological injury that are more than just trivial
If proved, actual bodily harm comes with a potential imprisonment of seven years in the District Court or two years if the case stays in the Local Court.
Yet even this attack was not the most vicious use of “stiletto violence.”
Other examples of this kind of behaviour by women has taken place around Australia, and some had even more serious consequences.
Earlier this year, one woman faced trial and was jailed after using stilettos in a Brisbane nightclub, this time in a girl-on-girl fight.
My Thuy Nguyen, the same age as the woman who appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court, and two of her friends actually left their victim unconscious after attacking her, pulling her hair and stabbing her with a stiletto.
One of the other girls, 18-year-old Mimi Luong produced a studded stiletto and the victim was hit four times with it.
A razor blade was found at the place where the attack had occurred although the three girls all denied using it.
The victim of the attack was badly scarred on her face, needing urgent medical attention and stitches.
The ringleader, Nguyen, was given twelve months in jail while the other two girls received intensive corrective orders.
All three denied it had been planned, although they had known and disliked the girl since high school days.
Nguyen had also been involved in another stiletto attack in 2010 and had to be pulled off her victim by security guards.
These kinds of incidents feed into the concerns featuring prominently in the media surrounding alcohol fuelled violence.
It is ironic that such an inherently feminine article of clothing has been used in such brutal attacks.
All three attackers in the Brisbane “stiletto violence” had been heavily drinking before the incident took place, once again proving that alcohol and heels can be a bad combination.