It can be hard to cope when you’re facing charges in relation to ‘recklessly causing grievous bodily harm or wounding,’ but you don’t have to fight the battle alone.
By getting Sydney’s best criminal defence team on your side, you can ease some of the stress and take comfort in the knowledge that our expert lawyers are fighting hard to win your case.
What is the Offence of Recklessly Causing Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) or Wounding?
Recklessly Causing Grievous Bodily Harm is an offence under Section 35 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
‘Grievous bodily harm’ (GBH) is defined as ‘very serious harm’ it includes, but is not limited to:
- Any permanent or serious disfigurement
- The destruction of a foetus, other than by a medical procedure, and
- Any grievous bodily disease
You are ‘reckless’ if you foresaw the possibility of inflicting GBH which means you realised GBH may possibly be inflicted, but you went ahead with your actions regardless.
What are the Penalties?
The type of penalty that will apply in your case depends on your conduct, as well as whether it was committed in company.
In determining the appropriate penalty, the court will consider the extent of the injury caused, as well as other factors, including whether you have a previous criminal record, and whether you have demonstrated remorse (whether you have shown that you are sorry).
Statistics indicate that the most common penalty in recklessly causing grievous bodily harm cases is imprisonment (88%). The average term of imprisonment is 36 months, with a non-parole period of 18 months. This means that the average amount of time that you will spend in prison is 18 months.
For reckless wounding offences, the most common penalty is imprisonment (55%), followed by a suspended sentence (29.8%). The median term was 30 months, with an average non-parole period of 18 months.
What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove?
Before you can be found guilty of recklessly wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm, the prosecution must prove two things beyond a reasonable doubt:
1) That you caused a wound, or inflicted grievous bodily harm upon another person
A wound is generally defined as an injury that results when both layers of the skin are broken; for example, a deep cut or a split lip.
Grievous bodily harm is defined as ‘really serious harm’ – including permanent and serious disfigurement. Examples include broken bones, damage to internal organs, or the killing of a foetus.
2) That the wound or grievous bodily harm was caused by your recklessness
The offence of reckless wounding or grievous bodily harm applies in situations where you did not intend to wound another person or inflict grievous bodily harm, but where this type of physical injury came about as a result of your recklessness.
Recklessness refers to situations where you knew, or should have known that your actions could cause wounding or grievous bodily harm, but you continued to act anyway – for example, where you were waving a knife around carelessly and it cut someone, or where you punch someone and break a bone.
What are the Defences?
Your Options in Court
Pleading Not Guilty
Before you can be found guilty of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm or wounding, the prosecution must prove two factors beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That you caused a wound, or inflicted grievous bodily harm upon another person
- That the wound or grievous bodily harm was caused by your recklessness – in other words, where you knew, or should have known that your actions could cause wounding or grievous bodily harm, but you continued to act anyway
A wound is an injury that occurs when both layers of the skin are broken; for example, a deep cut or a split lip.
Grievous bodily harm means ‘really serious harm’ – including permanent and serious disfigurement. Examples include broken bones, damage to internal organs, or the killing of a foetus.
If you wish to plead ‘not guilty’, our lawyers can give you the strongest possible defence against the charges.
Our criminal law specialists regularly defend and win ‘recklessly causing grievous bodily harm’ cases and can help you present all relevant evidence to have the charges dropped at an early stage – saving you the time and expense of a defended hearing.
Our expert defence team can also help you raise any defences to secure a verdict of ‘not guilty’, for example:
- Where you were acting to protect yourself, another person, or your property (self-defence)
- Where you were threatened or coerced into wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm upon another person (duress)
- Where it was necessary to prevent serious injury or danger (necessity)
Don’t waste time talking to an inexperienced lawyer – get Sydney’s best criminal defence team on your side today and take the first step towards securing a positive outcome in your case.
If you do not wish to fight the charges, you may want to plead guilty as soon as possible. This will show to the court that you have accepted responsibility for your conduct, and in many cases may assist you in obtaining a lesser penalty.
However, before pleading guilty, you should speak to one of our experienced criminal lawyers, who will be able to advise whether there are any available defences that you can raise, which may result in a finding of ‘not guilty.’
If you are considering pleading guilty, you should familiarise yourself with the possible penalties that you could face.
The maximum penalties for this offence depend on the type of conduct, as well as whether you were with someone else (in company) when you committed the offence:
|Relevant Section||Offence||Maximum Penalty|
|S 35(1)||Recklessly cause grievous bodily harm in company||14 years imprisonment, with standard non-parole period of 5 years.|
|S 35(2)||Recklessly cause grievous bodily harm||10 years imprisonment, with standard non-parole period of 4 years.|
|S35(3)||Reckless wounding in company||10 years imprisonment, with standard non-parole period of 4 years.|
|S35(4)||Reckless wounding||7 years imprisonment, with standard non-parole period of 3 years.|
However, these are the maximum penalties only, meaning that they will only apply in the most serious of cases.
The judge will determine the appropriate penalty after considering all the facts and circumstances of your case. Our persuasive advocates can help you achieve a more lenient outcome by presenting your case in a positive light.
The various penalties that the court can impose include:
- Section 10 Dismissal
- Conditional Release Order
- Community Correction Order
- Intensive Correction Order
You can maximize your chances of getting a favourable penalty by getting an experienced criminal lawyer on your side, with a proven track record of fighting and winning these types of matters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?
Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.
Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:
Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.
Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.
Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.
We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.
Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.
Highest Level of Client Satisfaction
We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.
Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.
We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.
We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.
Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm
We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.
The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.
We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.
We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.
Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.
Free First Appointment
For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.
We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.
Specialist Lawyer Guarantee
We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.
This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.
All NSW Courts
From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.
And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.
Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.
All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.
An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.
Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.
Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.
Results-Focused Law Firm
Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.
The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.
Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.
No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.
The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.
Team of Lawyers Behind You
Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.
Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.
A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.
In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.
Familiar with Magistrates and Judges
Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.
Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.
We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:
- the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
- Parramatta, opposite the Justice Precinct carpark,
- Liverpool, and
We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD offices, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.
For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.
If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.