Intentionally Causing Serious Injury

In Victoria the maximum penalty for Intentionally Causing Serious Injury is 20 years’ imprisonment.

The type of injury and/or the circumstances in which the injury occurs will affect the penalty given by the Court. Intentionally Causing Serious Injury will ordinarily result in a custodial sentence, though this is not inevitable and Armstrong Legal’s specialist criminal law team stand ready to advise you on the ways that you might avoid jail if you have been charged.

The Offence of Intentionally Causing Serious Injury

The offence of Intentionally Causing Serious Injury can be found in section 16 of the Crimes Act 1958 which states: A person who, without lawful excuse, intentionally causes serious injury to another person is guilty of an indictable offence.

What is ‘serious injury’?

Section 15 of the Crimes Act 1958 states that ‘serious injury’ means an injury that:

  • Endangers life; or
  • Is substantial and protracted.

Serious injury also includes the destruction, other than in the course of a medical procedure, of the foetus of a pregnant woman, whether or not the woman suffers any other harm.

What Actions Might Constitute Intentionally Causing Serious Injury?

Actions such as repeated punching, hitting or kicking another person causing permanent brain injury, for example, would constitute this offence.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict a person of intentionally causing serious injury, the prosecution must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The complainant suffered a serious injury;
  • The accused caused the complainant’s serious injury;
  • They did so intentionally;
  • They acted without lawful justification or excuse.


To be convicted of Intentionally Causing Serious Injury, the prosecution must prove an intention to cause serious injury, not merely an intention to do an act which causes serious injury. In other words, the prosecution must prove that you had the specific intent to cause serious injury.

Nevertheless, the intention to cause serious injury may be inferred where the physical act is a direct assault which any ordinary person would have realised was likely to cause some physical harm to the complainant. In such cases, it will be necessary for you to provide evidence that you did not realise that your actions might cause some physical harm to the complainant.

Possible Defences

A person charged with this offence may argue in their defence:

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

Intentionally causing serious injury is a strictly indictable charge, which means that it will be heard in the County Court of Victoria.

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


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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