Section 33 Crimes Act 1900 | Wounding or GBH with Intent


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It’s only natural to feel worried about how your life could be affected if you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, however often the first step in fighting the charges is to understand what the law says.

Section 33 of the Crimes Act 1900 contains the offence of intentionally wounding or causing grievous bodily harm to another person.

It says that if you deliberately ‘wound’ or cause ‘grievous bodily harm’ to another person, you could face a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.

A ‘wound’ is defined as an injury that results when both layers of the skin are broken – for example, a split lip or a deep cut.

‘Grievous bodily harm’ is defined as ‘really serious injury,’ or a ‘permanent and serious disfigurement,’ such as broken bones, internal organ damage, or the killing of a foetus.

Section 33 also says that if you wound or cause grievous bodily harm to another person in an attempt to prevent your (or another person’s) lawful arrest, you could face a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.

This includes situations where you cause grievous bodily harm to a police officer while they are trying to arrest you – for example, punching them and causing a split lip or broken bone.

While the penalties prescribed by the law may seem harsh, it’s important to remember that they are maximum penalties which only apply in the most serious cases.

With the help of an experienced criminal lawyer, you can fight to have the charges dropped, or persuade the court to deal with the matter leniently.

For more information on wounding or causing grievous bodily harm with intent, take a look at our offence pages.

The Legislation

Section 33 of the Crimes Act deals with the offence of “wounding or causing grievous bodily harm with intent.”

33 Wounding or grievous bodily harm with intent

(1) Intent to cause grievous bodily harm: A person who:

(a) wounds any person, or

(b) causes grievous bodily harm to any person,

with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to that or any other person is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 25 years.

(2) Intent to resist arrest A person who:

(a) wounds any person, or

(b) causes grievous bodily harm to any person,

with intent to resist or prevent his or her (or another person’s) lawful arrest or detention is guilty of an offence. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 25 years.

(3) Alternative verdict If on the trial of a person charged with an offence against this section the jury is not satisfied that the offence is proven but is satisfied that the person has committed an offence against section 35, the jury may acquit the person of the offence charged and find the person guilty of an offence against section 35. The person is liable to punishment accordingly.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

Having the right legal team on your side can make all the difference when it comes to securing a positive outcome in your case.

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, we have a wealth of experience defending and winning serious wounding and grievous bodily harm cases.

As Sydney’s criminal law specialists, we have helped hundreds of clients avoid a conviction or a harsh penalty by having the charges dropped before the matter ends up in court.

We achieve these outstanding results by working hard to identify problems with the prosecution case at an early stage and raising any possible defences to explain or justify the offending – such as self-defence.

Where the prosecution refuses to drop the charges, our advocates will present your case in a compelling manner in court in order to maximise your chances of being found “not guilty.”

Where you wish to plead “guilty” to the charges, our expert defence team will give you the best possible defence against the charges by presenting sentencing submissions which highlight any factors which make your conduct less serious.

We also push to have “wounding and grievous bodily harm” charges downgraded to less serious charges which carry lesser penalties, such as assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

We also guarantee that you will be represented in court by one of our senior lawyers, who are highly-respected advocates with considerable experience fighting and winning complex criminal cases.

So, for expert advice and representation in your wounding or grievous bodily harm case, get in touch with our Accredited Criminal Law Specialists today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference to discuss your case.