Inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent

What is the offence of Inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent?

The offence of Inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent is found at section 33 of the Crimes Act 1900. It is an extremely serious criminal offence that can only be finalised in the District Court of NSW by way of trial or sentence (jury or judge alone).

Intent, depending on the circumstances, can be difficult to prove. Generally speaking, a person will be held to have intended to cause grievous bodily harm if it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that they foresaw really serious injury as the inevitable consequence of their act. What this means is that it will often be the case – where a person admits committing the assault itself – that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will accept a plea of guilty to the lesser offence of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm.

If you are charged with the offence of Inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, your options will normally be to plead guilty or not guilty.

Pleading not guilty

You will be found not guilty of the offence of Inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. You caused grievous bodily harm to any person. Grievous bodily harm is “really serious harm” and includes:
    1. The destruction (other than in the course of a medical procedure) of the foetus of a pregnant woman,  whether or not the woman suffers any other harm, and
    2. Any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person, and
    3.  Any grievous bodily disease.
  2. With intent to cause grievous bodily harm to that or any other person.

If the police are able to prove the above elements beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:

Contact our offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown or Redfern to organise a time for one of our criminal lawyers to advise you of your prospects of successfully defending the charge of Inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.

Pleading guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence (and the police are able to prove so), it is best to plead guilty as you will normally receive a discount on sentence and it will demonstrate remorse and contrition. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to less serious facts or even a less serious charge. Indeed this is not uncommon when the charge of Inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent is laid against a person.

The prominent consideration in sentencing for Inflicting grievous bodily harm is the seriousness of the injury; however, the appropriate sentence is not determined merely by considering the injuries and the circumstances of the offence will also be given considerable weight. The Court of Criminal Appeal has held that where the victim was a 57-year-old female, attacked with a metal club in her home, and that the assault was premeditated and involved repeated blows, the offence was near the top of the range of seriousness.

Inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment in the District Court. Inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent is an extremely serious criminal offence and if you are charged with this offence you should contact our office immediately.

Penalties that a court can impose in NSW are:

Case Study

AC Law Group represented a man charged with Inflicting grievous bodily harm to person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. It was alleged that our client following an argument over a mobile phone, had attacked a housemate in bed with a hammer splitting open his head. At the time of the ‘attack‘ only our client and the alleged victim were home. Our solicitor ran a self-defence argument, arguing it could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt that our client was not acting in self-defence. It was argued the injuries to alleged victim were caused by a self-imposed blow from the claw of the hammer while our client was being attacked and trying to defend himself. The alleged victim’s credibility was attacked through conversations and incidents he had with other housemates prior to the alleged attack. The Jury only took a few hours to acquit our client, some even smiled and waved as he bowed to thank them for their not guilty verdict.

Case Study

Mr Correy represented a person charged with Inflicting grievous bodily harm to person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after she stabbed her boyfriend. He negotiated with the Director of Public Prosecutions for the charge to be withdrawn and replaced with the offence of Reckless wounding and for the matter to be dealt with in the Local Court. The facts were changed to reflect that the defendant was assaulted prior to the stabbing and the knife made contact with the victim recklessly (but to such a degree that the Magistrate observed it sounded like an accident). In the end the client went from facing a gaol sentence if found guilty to receiving a section 10(1)(b) bond and receiving no criminal record.

Case study

Our solicitor appeared in trial for an Accused charged with Inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and Assault with intent to rob. The prosecution witnesses were cross examined to establish that the Accused could not be identified as having been involved in the robbery and it could not be established his role in the brawl that subsequently broke out included use or knowledge of a knife used to stab the victim. It was argument any involvement he had was in self-defence. The jury subsequently found the Accused not guilty of all charges.

Case study

AC Law Group represented a person charged with robbery in company inflicting grievous bodily harm and intentionally inflict grievous bodily harm, both offences which carry a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. He had a substantial criminal record and was facing many years in gaol if sentenced for those charges. The Crown prosecutor was convinced to accept a plea of guilty to recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm and the client received a 2 year sentence with a 12 month non-parole period.

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