Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm

What is the offence of wounding with intent to cause GBH?

The offence of Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm is found at section 33 of the Crimes Act 1900.

Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm can be difficult to prove because it is difficult to prove intent. Generally speaking, a person will 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. Where a person admits committing the wounding itself – that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will often accept a plea of guilty to the lesser offence of reckless wounding, which is easier to prove and carries a significantly lighter penalty. This charge, if the conduct is admitted and self-defence cannot be raised is often best negotiated to avoid imprisonment on a plea or finding of guilt.

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

Pleading not guilty

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

  1. You wounded any person. Wounding involving the breaking or cutting of the interior layer of the skin (dermis) and the breaking of the outer layer (epidermis) is not sufficient.
  2. With intent to cause grievous bodily harm to that or any other 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.

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 Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

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 Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm is laid against a person.

Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment in the District Court. It is a standard non parole period offence. Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm 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:

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