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Section 39 Crimes Act 1900
Using Poison etc to Endanger Life or Inflict Grievous Bodily Harm

Section 39 of the Crimes Act contains the most serious poisoning offence which accordingly attracts the harshest penalties.

It says that where you administer or cause another person to take a poison or intoxicating substance, which endangers their life or causes them to suffer grievous bodily harm, you could face a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.

To be found guilty under this section, the prosecution must also prove that you intended to injure or were reckless about injuring the other person.

This means that where you were honestly and reasonably unaware that the substance was poisonous and you did not meant to cause the other person harm, you will not be found guilty under this section.

“Grievous bodily harm” is defined as “really serious harm,” such as a permanent and serious disfigurement – including internal organ damage.

The Legislation

Section 39 of the Crimes Act 1900, which deals with Using Poison etc to Endanger Life or Inflict Grievous Bodily Harm, reads as follows:

39 Using Poison etc to Endanger Life or Inflict Grievous Bodily Harm

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a) the person administers to another person, or causes another person to take, any poison, intoxicating substance or other destructive or noxious thing, and

(b) the poison, intoxicating substance or other thing endangers the life of, or inflicts grievous bodily harm on, the other person, and

(c) the person intends to injure, or is reckless about injuring, the other person.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) 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 41 or 41A, the jury may acquit the person of the offence charged and find the person guilty of an offence against section 41 or 41A. The person is liable to punishment accordingly.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Choosing the right legal team to defend your reputation and interests can be a difficult process.

However, it is always important to look at a firm’s experience and results when making this decision.

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, we have extensive experience defending and winning some of the most complex criminal matters – so you can rest assured that you are in safe hands.

Our criminal law specialists will take the time in every case to carefully scrutinise all the evidence in order to identify problems with the prosecution case at an early stage in the proceedings.

Where issues are found, our lawyers will write to the prosecution asking to have the charges dropped on this basis – often sparing our clients the considerable time and expense associated with defended hearings.

However, should your matter proceed to court, our senior lawyers will represent you and present a strong defence case to maximise your chances of being found ‘not guilty.’

Our senior lawyers are highly skilled advocates who have been recognised for their expert knowledge of the criminal law, as well as their ability to obtain excellent results in difficult cases.

We can assist you in avoiding the harsh penalties imposed by the law if you simply wish to plead guilty – in these cases, our experienced advocates can prepare and present compelling sentencing submissions which focus on any positive factors of your case.

For the best defence in your case, get the experts on your side today. Call us now on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with our criminal law specialists.


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