Reckless wounding

What is the offence of Reckless wounding?

The offence of Reckless wounding is found at section 35 of the Crimes Act 1900.

Reckless wounding is a serious criminal offence and has been traditionally associated with stab wounds. However because wounding is defined as a “breaking of the skin” and the offence does not require a weapon to be committed, there can be considerable differences in the scale of injury (e.g. both a split lip and stab wound can constitute a wound) and cause of the wound (e.g. punch or stabbing). One of the most common defences to reckless wounding 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 a wound. The facts which the prosecution allege may also be disputed.

If you are charged with the offence of Recklessly wounding, your options will normally be to plead guilty or not guilty.

Pleading not guilty

You will be found not guilty of the offence of Reckless wounding if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. You wound 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. A wound may be inflicted by a fist and a split lip is sufficient has been held to be sufficient.
  2. You are reckless as to causing actual bodily harm to that or any other person.

Recklessness will be established if it 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, 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 Reckless wounding.

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 Reckless wounding is laid against a person.

The consequences of a wounding can vary widely and may be quite minor. It need not involve the use of a weapon. A case involving significant wounding does not by virtue of that factor alone fall into the worst case category. The offender’s mental state is a relevant factor, particularly if there is a degree of cognitive disturbance and an absence of premeditation.

An offence of Reckless wounding carries a maximum penalty of 7 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 10 years imprisonment. However, these maximum penalties are typically reserved for the worst offenders.

Reckless wounding has a standard non parole and is a serious criminal offence. If you are charged with Reckless wounding offence you should contact our office immediately.

Penalties that a court can impose in NSW are:

Case Study

AC Law Group represented a young woman charged with stabbing her boyfriend during a domestic argument. There was substantial negotiation between the police and our criminal lawyer who convinced the police to include the fact that the stabbing occurred when the boyfriend grabbed her hair whilst she was cutting vegetables. The Magistrate accepted our criminal lawyers submission that the incident was close to an accident and dismissed the charged pursuant to section 10.

Case Study

AC Law Group represented a client who allegedly stabbed a woman at a party. The stabbing was allegedly seen by three different people; however under cross examination, they all gave different versions and described a different weapon. Ultimately, it was found that none of the witnesses’ evidence could be considered reliable and in circumstances where there was a complete denial of culpability, he had to find our client not guilty.

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