Facing charges relating to recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm or wounding can be a daunting and overwhelming experience to deal with. However, with Mark Savic Legal on your side, you won’t be alone when it comes to dealing with the complex legal proceedings involved.
When it comes to grievous bodily harm (GBH), even a single punch is counted as an offence, which makes facing criminal charges very serious indeed with statistics showing up to 88% of those convicted of causing GBH receiving prison sentences.
For cases pertaining to GBH charges, the offence range can vary significantly, and there are many factors that can affect the outcome of sentencing, including:
- the nature of the injuries sustained
- the age of the offender
- the criminal history of the offender
- whether or not a weapon was used
- whether the offence was established by one blow
- whether there was a sustained attack on the complainant
What constitutes grievous bodily harm?
In Queensland, grievous bodily harm is a very serious offence applying to assaults that have resulted in extensive harm to a victim.
Section 320 of the Criminal Code (QLD) states that any person who unlawfully does grievous bodily harm to another is guilty of a crime and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years. This includes:
- The loss of a distinct part or an organ of the body
- Serious disfigurement
- A bodily injury that, if left untreated, would endanger life or cause permanent injury
In New South Wales, according to section 4 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), grievous bodily harm refers to any serious or permanent injury which will cause the victim ongoing problems, such as broken bones or internal organ damage, including:
- The destruction of the foetus of a pregnant woman
- Any permanent or serious disfiguring
- Any grievous bodily disease (like AIDS)
What are the penalties for grievous bodily harm charges?
In NSW, the penalties for causing grievous bodily harm are usually more serious than for common assault but vary depending on the offence. To determine a sentence, the court will consider several factors including the degree of violence and the extent of the harm inflicted.
For a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent, an accused will often receive a prison sentence. However, causing grievous bodily harm due to an unlawful or negligent act can often result in penalties such as a Conditional Release Order without conviction or an Intensive Correction Order.
In QLD, grievous bodily harm involves more serious damage and accordingly carries more severe sentencing guidelines. Importantly, if you are charged with causing grievous bodily harm, the prosecution is not obligated to prove that you had any intention to commit the offence, which means you can be found guilty and sentenced even if you never intended to touch the complainant whatsoever.
Although the maximum penalty for this offence is 14 years, the court will take several factors into account when determining a penalty, including the nature of the offence and any prior criminal history.
What will the prosecution need to prove to obtain a conviction?
When charged with an offence of GBH, the police (prosecution) need to prove several factors beyond a reasonable doubt, including:
- the person assaulted suffered the type of injury defined in the Criminal Code
- the offence was caused by the person accused of the crime; and
- that the act was done unlawfully
The prosecution doesn’t need to show that you intended to cause grievous bodily harm. The court only needs to be satisfied that the accused person caused the offence.
This is often a contentious issue in trials when someone has pushed a person, and they have hit their head on the pavement. The Jury involved in a trial would need to be sure that the push caused the head injury.
What happens if you’re charged with causing grievous bodily harm?
In both QLD and NSW, if you are charged with causing grievous bodily harm, it is important to seek legal representation immediately.
By hiring an experienced criminal defence lawyer who understands the complexities of assault cases, you can feel confident knowing your chances of avoiding or receiving a greatly reduced penalty are greatly improved.
Mark Savic Legal can provide specialist legal guidance on how to plead and can construct a solid defence to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
If you’ve been charged with causing grievous bodily harm in Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Maclean, Grafton, Yamba, Northern NSW, The Gold Coast or Brisbane, contact Mark Savic Legal today to discuss your options.Contacts us