Recklessly causing grievous bodily harm

Overview

The offence of Recklessly causing grievous bodily harm is found at section 35 of the Crimes Act 1900. It is a serious criminal offence.

One of the most common defences to recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm is self-defence. Other defences include that the injuries alleged were either not caused by the actions of the accused, or that they do not constitute grievous bodily harm. The facts which the prosecution allege may also be disputed.

If you are charged with the offence of Recklessly causing 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 Recklessly causing grievous bodily harm 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:

a) 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
b) Any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person, and
c) Any grievous bodily disease.

2. You are reckless as to causing actual bodily harm to that or any other person. Recklessness will be established if iis proven beyond reasonable doubt you foresaw the likelihood of actual bodily harm being inflicted and ignored the risk.

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 or Blacktown to organise a time for one of our criminal lawyers to advise you of your prospects of successfully defending the charge of Recklessly causing 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 Recklessly causing grievous bodily harm is laid against a person.

Generally speaking, the seriousness of the offence will significantly depend upon the seriousness of the injury but the injury inflicted is not the only factor in determining the seriousness of an offence. The nature of the attack and surrounding circumstances are highly relevant.

An offence of Recklessly causing grievous bodily harm carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment in the District Court or 2 years imprisonment if the matter is dealt with in the Local Court. If the offence is committed in company, the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment. However, these maximum penalties are typically reserved for the worst offenders.

It is a standard non parole period offence. If you are charged with Recklessly causing grievous bodily harm you should contact our office immediately.

Penalties that a court can impose in NSW are:

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