It is reported that on the first day of term back at school a teacher of Byron Bay Public School was stabbed in the face and arm with a pair of scissors by a parent. The school was in lockdown for hours and parents were called to pick up their children. Staff and especially parents of students were shocked and in disbelief that such a horrific incident could occur in a primary school environment. The question arises as to what could have sparked this mother’s behaviour?


The incident occurred on 30 April 2019, as indicated earlier it was the first day back to school in the term. The Police allege that 36-year-old woman, Karina Sbaraini was speaking to the 28-year-old teacher, Zane Vockler at Byron Bay Public School about 7.20am on the day before she stabbed him with a pair of scissors. It is unknown what Ms Sbaraini’s motive was for committing the offence.

Sbaraini fled the scene and was later arrested at a home on Beach Side Drive, Suffolk Park, three hours after the incident. She was charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and entering inclosed lands without a lawful excuse. Although the victim’s injuries were not life threatening, he had to undergo surgery at a nearby Hospital after suffering a fractured arm, a deep wound behind his left ear and cuts to his arm and face.

It is further reported that one parent wrote on Facebook that her child saw a “pool of blood” near the school’s library. Another local said it was sad to hear about the attack on the first day back at school after the holiday break. “The most lovely teacher,” he wrote on Facebook. “So undeserving of this. May his recovery and healing be swift.” Another person posted: “(He’s) a great teacher and a gentle and caring soul.”

Ms Sbaraini had escaped a mental health facility two weeks prior to committing this offence. She was described in Court as “unpredictable, volatile and violent”. It is argued that she was unmedicated since escaping from a mental health facility.

Prosecutor Sergeant Nathan Lockett told the court, “the victim is lucky to be alive. It was a targeted and premeditated attack and it was completely unprovoked,”

The accused remains in custody after she was refused Bail.


Intentionally causing Grievous Bodily Harm (“GBH”) or wounding another person is where the intentional acts of the accused have left the victim with a serious injury or wound.

Some examples of wounding include:

  • Striking a person with a fist or slapping a person, cutting the skin;
  • Throwing an object at another person or knifing someone; and/or
  • Any battery where really serious injury occurs


An offence of Wound/Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm is a strictly indictable offence which is to be dealt with on indictment by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the District or Supreme Court. The offence wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm is dealt with in s 33 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and states:

The section provides that a person who:

  • wounds any person, or
  • causes grievous bodily harm to any person,

with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to that or any other person is guilty of an offence.

What is Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)?

GBH means that a person has suffered a really serious injury. GBH includes any injury which results in any permanent or serious disfiguration of that person. However, for an injury to be GBH the injury does not have to be permanent or have the consequences that the injury be long lasting or life threatening.

What is a wound?

Wounding is an injury involving the breaking or cutting of the interior layer (dermis) and outer layer (epidermis) of the skin. A wound can be caused by something as simple as a fist. A split lip is enough to be classed as a wound!

What is intention?

Intention is the state of mind of the accused at the time of the incident. When determining the intention, the prosecution will look towards whether a weapon was used to cause the injuries.


The maximum penalty for the offence is imprisonment for 25 years.


Since Wounding/Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm with intent is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution. The prosecution must prove the Accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

To establish Wounding/Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You caused a person to sustain an injury;
  • That the injury amounted to grievous bodily harm; and
  • You intended or were reckless in causing grievous bodily harm.

You will be found not guilty of the offence of Wounding, if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You wounded a person; and
  • The act was done intentionally or recklessly as to causing actual bodily harm; and

To prove a wounding offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that, at the time of the wounding, the accused realised some physical harm may be caused and the actions were still taken and injury to a requisite level was caused.

To read more about this offence, please visit National Criminal Lawyers dedicated website.

Get In Touch!

"*" indicates required fields