Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Causing Grievous Bodily Harm
In the ACT, the maximum penalty for the charge of Causing Grievous Bodily Harm is five years’ imprisonment, while Intentionally Inflicting GBH carries a maximum prison term of 20 years (or 25 years if the GBH is on a pregnant woman) and Recklessly Inflicting GBH carries a maximum of 13 years (or 15 if on a pregnant woman).
These charges are found in the Crimes Act 1900 near many other sections of related offences such as wounding, assaults and assaults occasioning actual or grievous bodily harm.
Case law describes grievous bodily harm as a “really serious injury”. The Act also states that it is:
- any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person; and/or
- for a pregnant woman – loss of or serious harm to the pregnancy other than in the course of medical procedure (whether or not the woman suffers any other harm).
Section 25 of the Act specifies that causing GBH can be done in one of two ways: by any unlawful act or omission, or by any negligent act or omission. This is why it is a less serious charge than those of Intentional or Reckless Infliction of GBH.
Intentionally Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm
Section 19 of the Act provides a 20-year maximum prison term for Intentionally Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm, extendable to up to 25 years if the victim is a pregnant woman.
The penalties are that high because actual “intention” is a high threshold for the Prosecution to prove and, if they do, the seriousness of the matter is obviously greater.
Recklessly Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm
Section 20 of the Act provides a 13-year maximum prison term for Recklessly Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm, extendable up to 15 years if the victim is a pregnant woman.
The penalties are set between those for Causing GBH and Intentionally Inflicting GBH to reflect the different standard that is “recklessness”, compared with “intent” on the one hand or simply an “unlawful” or “negligent” act on the other.
To be found reckless, the court must be satisfied that you turned your mind to the real prospect of GBH being caused by your action and went ahead regardless. The definition of “reckless” is found in the Criminal Code 2002 at Section 20.
Examples of recklessly causing GBH include:
- throwing a rock at incoming traffic, which results in extensive injuries to the driver;
- letting off fireworks in a crowded area, which results in serious disfiguring burns for someone in the crowd.
What The Police Must Prove
To convict a person of causing grievous bodily harm, the police must prove each element of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt:
- that the accused committed an unlawful or negligent act or omitted to commit an act;
- the act or omission resulted in another person receiving an injury or injuries amounting to grievous bodily harm
- the act was done recklessly (ie that the accused turned their mind to the real prospect of harm and went ahead regardless);
- the act was done intentionally.
A person charged with this offence may argue in their defence that:
- the resulting injury is not so serious as to amount to GBH;
- the act which caused GBH was not unlawful or negligent.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
A charge of Causing GBH can be heard and decided in the ACT Magistrates Court. If the court disposes of a case summarily (ie in the Magistrates Court) and convicts the defendant of the offence, the court must not impose a penalty that exceeds a fine of $5000 and/or imprisonment for two years.
If the Prosecution does not elect to have the matter heard summarily, the defence can still consent to the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court. Otherwise, the matter would be determined in the Supreme Court, where the full statutory penalty would be available to the sentencing judge. Contested matters in the Supreme Court would be heard by a judge and jury. Because of their maximum penalties, Intentionally and Recklessly Inflicting GBH both have to be dealt with by the Supreme Court.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
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