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Grievous Bodily Harm (NSW)

In New South Wales, the Crimes Act defines grievous bodily harm (GBH) as: “any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person, the destruction of a foetus and any grievous bodily disease.” GBH does not necessarily have to be permanent or life-threatening, but the consensus is that it must amount to a ‘really serious’ injury. Whether an injury fits the definition will be determined on a case by case basis with regard to the type of injury, location of the injury and the victim’s prospects of healing and rehabilitation.

There are a number of ways in which a person can be charged with causing grievous bodily harm to another person. Charges can be brought under both the Crimes Act or under the Road Transport Act if the harm was caused whilst operating a vehicle.

If the injury caused does not meet the threshold of GBH, then it may fall under the less serious category of ‘actual bodily harm’.

The offences involving GBH in NSW are outlined below.

Recklessly cause GBH

The offence of recklessly causing GBH is governed by section 43 of the Crimes Act 1900. A person who is found guilty of this offence is liable to up to 10 years imprisonment and up to 14 years imprisonment if they are in company with another person at the time of the offence.

Fernanda Dahlstrom

This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master’s in Writing and Literature. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

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