Post by Mr Joseph Correy, Principal Solicitor, AC Law Group.
Today a Jury of 12 acquitted our client of Grievous Bodily Harm with intent to Cause Grievous Bodily Harm.
In NSW, the charge of Intent to Cause Grievous Bodily Harm charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. People are charged with this offence if they assault someone with the intent to cause, and do cause, a very serious injury.
Our client was accused of assaulting the complainant with a hammer with intent to Cause Grievous Bodily Harm. The basis of the allegation was that our Client, who is on a 18 month temporary Visa seeking Asylum, and currently residing with the complainant, hit the complainant with a hammer on his head during the course of an altercation.
There were several witnesses who gave accounts on what occurred who were present in the home. The witnesses all supported the prosecutions case and gave accounts not dissimilar to the complainant. As the trial proceeded, there were lots of pieces to the puzzle which didn’t seem right and were not fitting together.
Upon review of the brief and through our clients instructions, it was alleged the complainant pulled out a knife and attempted to strike him a number of times. We were further instructed that the injury sustained from the hammer was not as a result of a strike of the hammer but rather through a struggle on each party trying to grab hold of the hammer which led to the claw of the hammer causing injury to the complainants forehead. No mention was ever made to a knife in any of the prosecutions witness statements.
During the trial our legal team, which included our Principal Solicitor, Mr Joseph Correy put the prosecutions case to test by vigorously testing the evidence of all witnesses by a process called “cross examination“. One witness was asked “was this before or after the knife had come out?” to which the witness responded “after the knife came out” however made no reference to the knife in his statement and was deemed discreditable. All other witnesses also gave very inconsistent accounts of what had actually happened.
We also led evidence from experts who concluded in their opinion that “The injury sustained from the hammer is a result of the claw rather the head of the hammer, which would have cause much more damage than what was seen“.
Our client was found not guilty and successfully raised self-defence.
A person is entitled to use such conduct as he or she genuinely believes is reasonable and necessary for a ‘defensive purpose‘ (that is, in self-defence or in defence of another, or to prevent or end an unlawful imprisonment).
If a defendant raises a defence under this section, the defence is taken to have been established unless the prosecution disproves the defence beyond reasonable doubt.
This will be a complete defence to an offence, including murder, as long as the force used was, in the circumstances as the defendant genuinely believed them to be, reasonably proportionate to the threat the defendant genuinely believed to exist.
In this case it was held that our client was acting in self defence in avoiding any infliction from the knife and was acquitted of this very serious charge
For professional legal advice on criminal matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us.