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Grievous Bodily Harm in the ACT

Grievous Bodily Harm in the ACT

In the Australian Capital Territory, there are several criminal offences relating to the infliction of grievous bodily harm on another person. This page outlines these offences and the penalties that apply to grievous bodily harm in the Australian Capital Territory.

What is grievous bodily harm?

Grievous bodily harm is any really serious bodily injury. This includes permanent or serious disfigurement and the loss of or serious harm to a pregnancy. It also includes broken bones, serious burns and the deliberate transmission of a serious disease such as HIV.

Causing grievous bodily harm in the Australian Capital Territory

Under section 25 of the Crimes Act 1900, a person who unlawfully causes grievous bodily harm to another person is liable to imprisonment for up to five years.

Intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm

Under section 19 of the Crimes Act 1900, a person who intentionally inflicts grievous bodily harm on another person is liable to imprisonment for up to 20 years, or 25 years if the offence is aggravated.

Recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm

Under section 30 of the Crimes Act 1900, a person who recklessly inflicts grievous bodily harm on another person is liable to imprisonment for up to 13 year, or 15 years if the offence is aggravated.

Threatening to inflict grievous bodily harm

Under section 31 of the Crimes Act 1900, a person who threatens to inflict grievous bodily harm on another person intending the other person to fear that the threat will be carried out or being reckless as to whether they will do so is liable to imprisonment for five years.

Aggravated offences

An offence is aggravated if it is committed on a pregnant woman or in circumstances of family violence. 

Jurisdiction

Grievous bodily harm offences are indictable offences that are finalised in the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court. However, all criminal matters start in the Magistrates Court (or Children’s Court if the accused is a juvenile) and a matter will have a number of mentions in a lower court before being committed to the Supreme Court. A matter will only be committed to the Supreme Court if there is sufficient evidence that a jury could find the accused guilty.

Pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm offences in the ACT

If you have been charged with an offence involving grievous bodily harm in the Australian Capital Territory, you should seek comprehensive legal advice before pleading guilty. Go To Court Lawyers’ criminal solicitors can advise you on the strength of the case against you, the likely penalty range if you were to be found guilty and any legal defences that you could rely on.

If you decide to plead guilty, Go To Court Lawyers will present your case to the court in a way that highlights every factor in your favour. This may include tendering character references from people who know you well and are aware of the charges and drawing attention to any steps you have taken to address the causes of the offending.

Pleading not guilty to grievous bodily harm offences in the Australian Capital Territory

If you have been charged with a grievous bodily harm offence in the Australian Capital Territory and you want to contest the charge, Go To Court Lawyers will review the brief of evidence carefully with you and advise you on any available defences. They will identify any weaknesses in the case against you and any evidence that may be ruled inadmissible.

If you plead not guilty to a grievous bodily harm offence, your matter will go through a number of procedural steps before being listed for a jury trial. This will include a committal hearing, where a magistrate will assess whether the prosecution case is strong enough that a jury, properly directed, could find you guilty of the offence.

Applying for bail on a grievous bodily harm charge in the ACT

If you have been charged with a grievous bodily harm offence in the ACT and remanded in custody, Go To Court Lawyers can help you to apply for bail.

Decision about bail in the ACT are made under the Bail Act 1992

Under section 22 of the Bail Act 1992, when deciding whether to grant bail to an adult, a court must consider:

  • Whether they are likely to attend court
  • Whether they are likely to commit an offence
  • Whether they are likely to harass or endanger anyone
  • Whether they are likely to interfere with evidence or obstruct the course of justice
  • The interests of the person.

If you have been charged with a grievous bodily harm offence while on bail for another serious offence, there is a presumption against you being granted bail under section 9D of the Bail Act 1992. This means that you will not be granted bail unless you show the court that exceptional circumstances exist. 

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

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