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Negligent Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm

Negligent Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm is an offence under Section 117(1)(b) of the Road Transport Act 2013.

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

  1. You drove a motor vehicle
  2. You drove the vehicle negligently, and
  3. You caused grievous bodily harm to another as a result

You drove ‘negligently’ if you:

“departed from the standard of care for other users of the road to be expected of the ordinary prudent driver in the circumstances”.

When determining whether the offence has been committed the court must consider:

  1. The nature, condition and use of the road at the time
  2. The amount of traffic on the road at the time, or which might reasonably be expected on the road at that time, and
  3. Any obstructions or hazards on the road at the time

Examples of negligent driving may include:

  1. Causing an accident by failing to keep a proper lookout for others
  2. Allowing a collision to occur by not driving defensively to avoid it, and
  3. Endangering others by not paying due care and attention to road rules or conditions

Examples that may not amount to negligent driving include:

  1. Where an accident was inevitable or unavoidable
  2. Where a previously unknown mechanical defect caused a collision, and
  3. Where you became unconscious due to an illness you were not previously aware of

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

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

If it is your first major traffic offence in the past 5 years the maximum penalty is:

  1. 9 months in prison
  2. A 3 year ‘automatic’ licence disqualification, which the court can reduce to 12 months, and
  3. A fine of $2,200

If it is your second or more major traffic offence in the past 5 years the maximum penalty is:

  1. 12 months in prison
  2. A 5 year automatic licence disqualification, which the court can reduce to 2 years, and
  3. A fine of $3,300

However, there will be no criminal record, licence disqualification or fine where the court deals with you by way of:

  1. A Section 10(1)(a) dismissal, or
  2. A Conditional release order without a conviction

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Necessity
  2. Duress
  3. Automatism, and
  4. Honest and reasonable mistake of fact

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