Wounding or grievous bodily harm with intent

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What is an Wounding or grievous bodily harm with intent ?

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

Some examples of wounding include:

  • Striking at a person with a first 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

Case law/Jurisdiction

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 Law

The Law in relation to Wounding/Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm is found in section 33 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).  It states:

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. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 25 years.

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 to that person. However, for an injury to be GBH the injury does not have to be permanent or that the consequences of 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 and a split lip is sufficient 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.

What must the prosecution prove?

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.

That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of Wounding/Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm with intent.

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

You will be found not guilty of the offence of Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm, if the police cannot prove 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.

If you are charged with the offence of Wounding or grievous bodily harm with intent what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending a number of Wound/Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm with intent charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements offence. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for Wounding/Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm with intent.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Wounding/Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm with intent:

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the elements of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount. Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence.

Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.

Our Lawyers at National Criminal Lawyers work closely with you to ensure that we obtain all necessary paper work at increasing the chances of obtaining a non-conviction or section 10.

Maximum Penalties

Wounding or Grievous Bodily Harm with intent can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

Please note that the penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending and are unlikely to be the penalty you receive.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.

A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.

National Criminal Lawyers are experts at these hearings and can advise you on what the police must prove beyond reasonable doubt.

Defences

Some of the possible defences available for those charged with Wounding or grievous bodily harm with intent can include:

  • If you were compelled to act in a certain way due to the circumstances, or the threats of another you may be able to argue “Duress”;
  • If your actions were necessary to prevent a greater harm from occurring, you may have the defence of “Necessity”;
  • If you were defending yourself or another OR yours or another’s property you may have a Defence of “Self-Defence” even in situations where “Pre-Emptive Force” is used. Moreover, at times there be a circumstances where you may argue that there was “No duty or need to retreat”.

Statistics

The Courts are not bound by statistics however there must be reasonable consistency in sentences. A Magistrate or Judge should have regard to what has been done in other cases. In Green [2011] HCA 45, the plurity judgement of French CJ, Kiefel and Creennan JJ stated:

“Equal Justice” embodies the norm expressed in the terms “equality before the law”. It is an aspect of the rule of law.

For Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm offenders 49% received full time imprisonment.

For Wounding offenders 39% received full time imprisonment.

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for an Wounding or grievous bodily harm with intent charge.

  • Prison sentence;
  • Home Detention;
  • Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention);
  • Suspended sentence;
  • Community service order (CSO);
  • Good behaviour bond;
  • Fine; and/or
  • Section 10

However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalty’s will be replacing the above. They are as follows:

  • Full time Imprisonment;
  • New ICO (ICO) with a home detention condition available;
  • New Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • Fine; or
  • New Conditional release Order (CRO)

Case Studies

Our client and the alleged victim were former business partners. On the day of the incident, Our client returned to the place of business to collect his belongings but the two of them got into a physical struggle. The complainant was punching our client and after telling the complainant to stop, the complainant continued to attack our client. Our client stabbed the complainant in the hand and called an ambulance and police. We represented our client in a 8 day Jury trial, and assisted him with running the defence of self-defence. Our client was found not guilty and was acquitted.

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. We get the results

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any Assault Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm offence our Team and National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

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