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Using Poison to Endanger Life or Inflict GBH

Using Poison to Endanger Life or Inflict GBH is an offence under Section 39 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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

  1. You administered to another, or caused another to take, a poison or an intoxicating, destructive or noxious substance
  2. You intended by doing so to injure the other person, or were reckless as to whether you would injure the other person, and
  3. The substance endangered the life of, or caused grievous bodily harm to, the other person

An ‘intoxicating substance’ includes alcohol, narcotic drugs and any other substance that affects senses or understanding.

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

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

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Self-defence
  2. Duress
  3. Necessity

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