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."
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.
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.
WHY CHOOSE ARMSTRONG LEGAL?
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