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Dangerous Navigation Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm

Dangerous Navigation Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm is an offence under Section 52B 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:

  1. You were navigating a vessel
  2. You were involved in an impact causing grievous bodily harm to another person, and
  3. You were under the influence of alcohol or a drug or drugs, or were navigating at a dangerous speed, or were navigating in a dangerous manner.

A ‘vessel’ means a water craft of any description that is used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.

An ‘impact’ is that which occurs through:

  1. The vessel overturning or running aground
  2. An impact with any object or person and the vessel
  3. An impact with another vessel
  4. An impact with anything attached to the vessel
  5. Falling from, or being ejected or thrown from, the vessel
  6. An impact between any object, including grounds and water, and a person due to the person protruding from the vessel.

‘Grievous bodily harm’ means ‘very serious harm’ it includes, but is not limited to:

  1. The destruction of a foetus, other than by a medical procedure
  2. Any permanent or serious disfiguring, and
  3. Any grievous bodily disease

The maximum penalty increases to 11 years in prison where the offence occurs in ‘circumstances of aggravation’ which is where:

  1. You had a ‘prescribed concentration of alcohol’ in your breath or blood
  2. You exceeded the speed limit
  3. You were attempting pursuit by a police officer, or
  4. You were ‘very substantially impaired’ by a drug or drugs

A ‘prescribed concentration of alcohol’ (pca) is a reading of at least 0.15.

You are presumed to have been under the influence of alcohol where you had the pca in your bloodstream.

A certificate of your alcohol or drug concentration is admissible as evidence as long as the analysis occurred within 2 hours after the impact, unless you are able to prove ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that the concentration was lower at the time of impact.

A defence to the charge is that the harm was not attributable in any way to:

  1. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  2. The speed at which you navigated, or
  3. The manner in which you navigated

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