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Unlawful Wounding (Qld)

In Queensland, there is a range of offences relating to causing injury to another person. These include assault occasioning bodily harm, grievous bodily harm and unlawful wounding. This page deals with unlawful wounding in Queensland.


The offence of unlawful wounding in contained in section 323 of the Criminal Code 1899.

What is unlawful wounding?

The offence occurs when a person unlawfully breaks the skin of another person. It is not enough for only the victim’s cuticle or outer skin to be broken. The victim’s true skin must be broken.

A charge of unlawful wounding can result from a ‘glassing’ or from a wound caused by a knife or bottle. However, there is no requirement that a weapon be used.

If the victim sustained more serious harm, this may result in a charge of grievous bodily harm.

Penalty for unlawful wounding

Unlawful wounding carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

In Queensland, these charges usually result in a sentence of imprisonment. This may be wholly or partly suspended, and the court may set a non-parole period.

Mandatory sentencing for aggravated unlawful wounding

If the offence is committed in a public place while the offender is intoxicated, it is aggravated. The court must make a community service order in addition to any other order it makes when sentencing a person for aggravated unlawful wounding. This rule is contained in section 108B of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992.


The offence is finalized in the District Court.

Pleading guilty to unlawful wounding

If you have been charged with this offence and are considering pleading guilty, you should first carefully consider the following:

  • Can the prosecution prove that you committed the offence?
  • Do you agree with everything in the police summary of facts?
  • Is there a defence available to you?

If you plead guilty to unlawful wounding, you will be sentenced based on the following:

  • The circumstances of the offence
  • The extent of the harm to the victim
  • Your prior criminal record
  • Your personal circumstances, particularly any aggravating or mitigating factors

Pleading not guilty to wounding

If you have been charged with unlawful wounding and you are thinking about pleading not guilty, you should carefully review the brief of evidence with your lawyer. This will allow you to assess the strength of the case against you and whether there are any available defences.

Legal defences to wounding include:

Applying for bail

If you have been remanded on a charge of unlawful wounding, you may want to apply for bail. Under section 16 of the Bail Act, the court must grant you bail unless it considers that there is an unacceptable risk that:

  • You will fail to appear at court
  • You will commit further offences while on bail
  • You will endanger the safety of or welfare of the victim
  • You will interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice

In deciding whether to grant you bail, the court will look at:

  • The nature of the offence
  • Your criminal history
  • Any previous grants of bail
  • The strength of the case against you

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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