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I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
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Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
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I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
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."
Threat to Inflict GBH
The maximum penalty for the charges of both inflicting and threatening to inflict Grievous Bodily Harm is five years’ imprisonment.
The Offence of Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm
Section 25 of the Crimes Act 1900 states:
A person who, by any unlawful or negligent act or omission, causes grievous bodily harm to another person is guilty of an offence punishable, on conviction, by imprisonment for 5 years.
The Offence of Threatening To Inflict Grievous Bodily Harm
Section 31 of the Act states:
If a person makes a threat to another person to inflict grievous bodily harm on that other person or any third person, intending that other person to fear that the threat would be carried out; or being reckless whether or not that other person would fear that the threat would be carried out; and the threat is made without lawful excuse; and in circumstances in which a reasonable person would fear that the threat would be carried out, the first-mentioned person is guilty of an offence punishable, on conviction, by imprisonment for 5 years.
What Is Grievous Bodily Harm?
Case law describes “Grievous Bodily Harm” (GBH) as a “really serious injury” but not necessarily permanent, long-lasting or life-threatening. The dictionary in 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).
Whether an injury amounts to GBH is to be determined on a case-by-case basis. There is often contention between the prosecution and the defence as to whether a particular injury amounts to GBH or whether it falls within the scope of the less serious charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Some examples of injuries that the courts have found to constitute GBH include:
- brain damage;
- jaw and skull fractures;
- severe lacerations that require stitches, nerve reconstruction and/or surgery;
- causing a woman to lose her foetus; and
- facial fractures requiring steel plates and screws, causing ongoing headaches and continuing treatment.
Some examples of injuries that the court has found NOT to constitute GBH include:
- uncomplicated fractures of the arms or legs;
- facial fractures which require minor surgery with relatively short recovery times; and
- cuts and lacerations.
What Actions Might Constitute Unlawful or Negligent Acts?
An unlawful act is any act that is against the law. That is, an act that is an offence under legislation or common law. Trivial offences against prohibitions or regulations are not included and the act must be a “dangerous” act.
Examples of unlawful acts include:
- Illegal dumping of toxic chemicals into a stream causing serious injury to swimmers;
- Jaywalking and causing a motorist to have a serious accident; and
- Keeping a dangerous animal without a licence and/or proper enclosure which escapes and attacks someone (though there are separate offences in relation to the keeping of dogs).
A negligent act is an act that falls short of the standard which would be expected of a reasonable person. The case of R v Nydam  VR 430 held that the negligent act must involve a high risk of death or GBH. The act must be done consciously and voluntarily without an intention of causing GBH (otherwise it would be the offence of intentionally inflict GBH).
Examples of negligent acts include:
- Failure to seek medical treatment of a 3-year-old girl suffering from a broken arm and a laceration to her forehead. The delay in treatment caused permanent scarring of the face and permanent disfigurement and shortening of her arm;
- A nurse failing to obtain appropriate treatment for her patient after knowing or suspecting that she had incorrectly administered a drug; and
- Throwing methylated spirits from a bottle on to an lit barbecue, causing an explosion and severe burns.
What the Police Must Prove
To be convicted, the prosecution must establish beyond reasonable doubt that:
- you did (or threatened to do) an act that caused a person to sustain an injury;
- the act was either negligent or unlawful; and
- the injury amounted to grievous bodily harm.
Possible Defences For A Charge Causing GBH By Unlawful Or Negligent Act
A person charged with this offence may argue in their defence that:
- the resulting injury is not so serious as to amount to GBH;
- to argue that the act which caused GBH was not unlawful or negligent; or
- that the accused was acting in self-defence.
What Court Will Hear Your Matter?
As both charges carry a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, the Prosecution can elect (within a specific timeframe) for your matter to be kept in the Magistrates Court, where the maximum penalty that can be imposed is two years’ jail.
If the Prosecution does not make that election, the Defence can still “consent to the jurisdiction” of the Magistrates Court but may choose instead to have the matter heard in the Supreme Court. This course provides for a contested matter to be decided by a jury.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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