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Unlawful Wounding in Western Australia

Updated on Dec 23, 2022 4 min read 359 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in Dec 23, 2022 Updated on Dec 23, 2022 4 min read 359 views

Unlawful Wounding in Western Australia

In WA, unlawful wounding is one of a number of offences that involve causing harm to a person. The offence is set out in section 301 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913.

Penalty for unlawful wounding in WA

The maximum penalty for unlawful wounding in WA is five years imprisonment, or seven years imprisonment if the offence is aggravated.

What is the offence of unlawful wounding?

Unlawful wounding is committed when a person inflicts an injury on another person that involves breaking the other person’s skin. Both layers of the skin must be broken, not just the outer layer. The injury does not have to be long-lasting or severe and no weapon need be used. Wounding offences often involve ‘glassing’ incidents, or the use of a knife.

Which court will the matter be heard in?

Unlawful wounding matters are ‘either-way’ offences, which means they can be dealt with in the Magistrates Court or in the District Court. These matters are dealt with summarily (by a magistrate) unless one of the parties applied to have the matter dealt with on indictment in the District Court.

Should I plead guilty?

If you have been charged with unlawful wounding, you should review the allegations carefully with a lawyer. Your lawyer will assess the strength of the case against you, whether you have a legal defence and what the likely penalty range is given your circumstances and criminal history.

If the case against you is strong, it may be advisable to plead guilty at an early opportunity.

Contesting a charge of unlawful wounding

If you decide to plead not guilty, your matter will be adjourned for the prosecution to serve the brief of evidence. This is a summary of all the evidence that the prosecution intends to rely on. If you still plan to contest the charge after reviewing the brief of evidence, your matter will be listed for a contested hearing. On that day, the court will hear evidence and submissions from both parties and then decide whether you have been proven guilty.

If you are found guilty, you will be sentenced. This may occur on the same day, or on a later date. If you are found not guilty, the matter will be dismissed.

Defences to unlawful wounding

A person charged with unlawful wounding in WA may have a legal defence available to them.

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 because they believe it is necessary to defend themselves or another person AND the act is a reasonable response in the circumstances as the accused 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 act done under duress. A person does an act under duress if they believe it is necessary to avoid a threat being carried out, and the act is a reasonable response to the threat in the circumstances.

The defence of insanity

Under section 27 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, a person is not guilty of an offence if at the time they committed the act, they were so mentally impaired that they did not have the capacity to understand what they were doing, control their actions, or know that they ought not to do the act.

The defence of immature age

Under section 29 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, a person under ten cannot be found guilty of a criminal offence in WA. A person between the ages of 10 and 14 can be found guilty of an offence only if it is proved that they had the capacity to know that they ought not to do the act.

Applying for bail in Western Australia

If you have been charged with unlawful wounding and remanded, Go To Court Lawyers can help you to apply for bail. Under the Bail Act 1982, a court will decide whether to release an accused person on bail base on a range of factor including whether the person is likely to:

  • Fail to attend court
  • Commit an offence
  • Endanger a person
  • Obstruct the course of justice or interfere with witnesses.

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

Published in

Dec 23, 2022

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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