The Offences of Reckless Wounding and Intentional Wounding in NSW

by Ugur Nedim

It has been reported that a 36-year old man was stabbed in the head during a fight at a house on Glencoe Avenue, Werrington County in Sydney’s greater western suburbs just before 10pm last night.

Emergency services were called to the scene and the injured man was taken to Westmead Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A crime scene was established by officers from Nepean Police Area Command and investigations are continuing into the incident.

What is a ‘wounding’ under the law?

Wounding is defined as a breaking of both layers of the skin, being the dermis and epidermis.

The courts have found that a wounding includes a ‘split lip’.

The offence of reckless wounding

Reckless Wounding is an offence under Section 35 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  1. Wounded another person, and
  2. Did so recklessly.

A person was ‘reckless’ if he or she foresaw the possibility that wounding the other person could possibly occur but went ahead with their actions regardless.

The maximum penalty increases to 10 years in prison where the defendant committed the offence with another person or persons.

The offence of intentional wounding

Wounding with intent is an offence under Section 33 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  1. Wounded another person, and
  2. Intended to do so.

A person intended to wound another if they meant to do so, or as the courts put it the wounding was ‘wilful’.

Intentional wounding carries a ‘standard non-parole period’ of 7 years in prison, which is a guidepost or reference point for the sentencing judge when he or she is deciding how long a person must spend behind bars before being eligible to apply for release on parole.

Legal defences to wounding charges

In addition to having the prove the above essential ‘elements’ (or ingredients) of the relevant offence beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecution must also disprove beyond reasonable doubt any legal defences that are validly raised by the evidence.

Legal defences to assault charges, such as reckless or intentional wounding,  include:

  1. Self-defence,
  2. Duress, and
  3. Necessity.

Going to court for reckless or intentional wounding?

If you have been accused of an assault charge, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers anytime on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with an experienced defence lawyer who will explain your options, the best way forward and fight for the optimal outcome.

Author

Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist with over 20 years of experience as a criminal defence lawyer. He is the Principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.

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