Serious Harm in South Australia
Updated on Jan 11, 2023 • 4 min read • 323 views • Copy Link
Serious Harm in South Australia
In South Australia, the offence of causing serious harm is the most serious criminal offence relating to unlawfully causing harm to another person. In many states and territories, serious harm is known as grievous bodily harm. However, in South Australia, the term grievous bodily harm is not used.
What is serious harm?
Serious harm is defined as including the following:
- Harm that endangers a person’s life;
- Harm that results in serious or protracted impairment of a physical or mental function;
- Harm that involves serious disfigurement.
Legislation on serious harm in South Australia
Under section 23 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935, it is an offence to intentionally cause serious harm to another person. This offence is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, or up to 25 years if the offence is aggravated.
Under section 29 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935, it is an offence to intentionally recklessly endanger life or create a risk of serious harm. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment, or 18 years if the offence is aggravated.
Penalty for serious harm in SA
A person found guilty of a serious harm offence will usually receive a custodial sentence; however, this may be wholly or partly suspended. A non-parole period may be set.
If a person is found guilty of an offence under section 23 and the victim suffered particularly serious harm, the Director of Public Prosecution can ask the court to impose a sentence that exceeds the maximum penalty for that offence.
Pleading guilty to serious harm in South Australia
If you have been charged with a serious harm offence in South Australia and are considering pleading guilty, you should first get comprehensive legal advice. Go To Court Lawyers’ criminal team will advise you of any weaknesses in the case against you, of the likely penalty range and of any defences that could be relied on.
If you decide to plead guilty, Go To Court Lawyers will prepare your plea in mitigation thoroughly and present your case to the court in the best possible light. This may involve gathering supporting material such as character references, psychological reports and evidence of any steps you have taken to address the causes of your offending.
Pleading not guilty to serious harm in South Australia (SA)
If you have been charged with a serious harm offence in South Australia and you want to fight the charge, Go To Court Lawyers will help you to prepare your defence. This will include analysing the prosecution brief of evidence, assessing any potential legal defences, and may also include calling witnesses in your defence.
If you decide to plead not guilty, your matter will have to proceed through a committal hearing before it goes to trial. This is a procedure that takes place in the Magistrates Court. A magistrate will review the evidence against you and assess whether the case is strong enough that a jury could find you guilty. If the case is sufficiently strong, the matter will then be committed to a higher court. If it is not, the matter will be dismissed.
Defences to serious harm in South Australia
Legal defences to a charge of serious harm include:
- Mental impairment
Applying for bail on a serious harm charge
If you have been charged with serious harm in South Australia and remanded in custody, Go To Court Lawyers will help you to apply for bail.
Under section 10 of the Bail Act 1985, decisions about bail in South Australia are made based on whether the applicant is likely to:
- interfere with evidence;
- breach an intervention order
The court will also take into account the person’s need for protection, their medical needs, their bail history, and any other relevant matter.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.
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