Grievous Bodily Harm in Western Australia
Updated on Dec 30, 2022 • 4 min read • 369 views • Copy Link
Grievous Bodily Harm in Western Australia
In Western Australia, there are a number of criminal offences involving grievous bodily harm. These are set out in the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913. This page deals with the penalties and defences for offences involving grievous bodily harm in Western Australia.
What is grievous bodily harm?
Grievous bodily harm is defined as a bodily injury that is likely to endanger life or cause permanent injury to health.
Causing grievous bodily harm
Under section 297 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, it is an offence to unlawfully do grievous bodily harm to another person. This is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years.
If the offence is committed under any of the following circumstances, the maximum penalty increases to 14 years imprisonment:
- while stealing a motor vehicle;
- where the victim is a public officer;
- the victim is a driver, hospital worker or contract worker;
- during an aggravated home burglary
Acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm
Under section 294 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, it is an offence to do certain acts with intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or do grievous bodily harm to a person, or to resist or prevent a lawful arrest. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.
Mandatory sentencing for grievous bodily harm in WA
There are mandatory minimum sentences that apply to some offences involving grievous bodily harm in Western Australia. These are set out below.
An adult who is found guilty of an offence under section 297 or under section 294 that is committed during an aggravated home burglary, must be sentenced to a term of at least 75% of the maximum penalty that applies to the offence.
If the offence is under section 297 and was committed against a public officer, then at least 12 months of this sentence must not be suspended.
A juvenile who is found guilty of an offence under section 297 or under section 294 that is committed during an aggravated home burglary must be sentenced to at least three years of detention or imprisonment.
If the offence is under section 297, the term of imprisonment or detention must not be suspended. If the offence is under section 294 and was committed against a public officer, then at least three months of the term imposed must not be suspended.
In any of the above situations, convictions must be recorded.
Grievous bodily harm offences are finalized in the WA District Court.
Defences to grievous bodily harm charges in Western Australia
A person who is charged with a grievous bodily harm offence in WA may have recourse to a legal defence. Some of the defences that apply to these offences are summarized below.
The defence of self-defence
Under section 248 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, a person is not guilty of an offence if they do a harmful act in self-defence. A person is acting in self-defence if they believe the act is necessary in self-defence and the act is a reasonable response in the circumstnaces as the person perceives them.
The defence of duress
Under section 32 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, a person is not guilty of an offence if they do an act under duress. A person acts under duress if they carry out conduct only because a threat has been made and they fear it will be carried out if they do not carry out the conduct. For this defence to succeed, the act must be a reasonable response to the threat.
The defence of accident
Under section 23B of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, a person is not guilty for an event that occurs by accident.
The defence of unwilled acts
Under section 23A of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, a person is not guilty of an offence relating to an act that occurred independent of their will.
Applying for bail on a grievous bodily harm charge in WA
If you have been charged with a grievous bodily harm offence in WA and remanded in custody, Go To Court Lawyers can help you to apply for bail. Decisions about bail in WA are made under the Bail Act 1982.
When a person applies for bail in WA, the court decides whether to grant bail based on whether they are likely to:
- attend court;
- commit an offence;
- endanger the safety, welfare or property of a person;
- interfere with witnesses;
- obstruct the course of justice.
If you have been charged with a grievous bodily harm offence while on bail or early release for another serious offence, you will not get bail unless you show the court that there are exceptional reasons why you should not be kept in custody.
Affordable LawyersOur Go To Court Lawyers will assist you in all areas of law. We specialise in providing legal advice urgently – at the time when you need it most. If you need a lawyer right now, today, we can help you – no matter where you are in Australia.
How It Works
1. You speak directly to a lawyer
When you call the Go To Court Legal Hotline, you will be connected directly to a lawyer, every time.
2. Get your legal situation assessed
We determine the best way forward in your legal matter, free of charge. If you want to go ahead and book a face-to-face appointment, we will connect you with a specialist in your local area.
3. We arrange everything as needed
If you want to go ahead and book a fact-to-face appointment, we will connect you with a specialist in your local area no matter where you are and even at very short notice.