Recklessly Causing Serious Injury


In Victoria the maximum penalty for Recklessly Causing Serious Injury is 15 years’ imprisonment.

The type of injury and/or the circumstances in which the injury occurs will affect the penalty given by the court. Recklessly Causing Serious Injury can 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 Recklessly Causing Serious Injury

The offence of Recklessly Causing Serious Injury can be found in section 17 of the Crimes Act 1958 which states: A person who, without lawful excuse, recklessly 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 Recklessly Causing Serious Injury?

Actions such as punching, hitting or kicking another person causing a broken jaw or other broken bones, for example, might constitute this offence.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict you of Recklessly Causing Serious Injury, the prosecution must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

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

‘Recklessly’

In order to have caused the serious injury recklessly, at the time of the offence, you must have been aware that the injury was ‘probable’ or ‘likely’ and be indifferent as to whether or not those consequences would occur. It will not be sufficient if you were aware that injury was merely ‘possible’ or might result from your actions.

Further, it is not sufficient that a reasonable person in your circumstances would have realised that their conduct would be likely to injure the complainant.

Possible Defences for Recklessly Causing Serious Injury

Possible defences to a charge of Recklessly Causing Serious Injury include:

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

Recklessly causing serious injury will generally be heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria depending on the seriousness of the injury. If there are other more serious charges or if the accused does not consent to the Magistrates’ Court hearing the matter, the matter can be committed to the County Court of Victoria.

Diversion for Recklessly Causing Serious Injury and Affray – Case Study

Our client was charged with a raft of violent offences including Recklessly Causing Serious Injury, Affray, Unlawful Assault and Drunk and Disorderly. Recklessly Causing Serious Injury has a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and is considered a very serious offence of violence.

We attended at Benalla Magistrates’ Court for a summary case conference with the Prosecutors. We contested the facts as outlined by Victoria Police and engaged in rigorous negotiations regarding the legal test applied for matters of self-defence. We sought further evidence from Victoria Police in support of their position of our client’s guilt. The matter was adjourned to contest mention.

We again attended at Benalla Magistrates’ Court for contest mention sometime later. We reiterated our view that our client’s involvement in the incident was limited and that the bulk of charges should be withdrawn, with Diversion offered for Drunk and Disorderly only. Negotiations were conducted sporadically throughout the day with Prosecutors and with the Informant by way of telephone.

Ultimately, charges of Recklessly Causing Serious Injury, Affray and Unlawful Assault were withdrawn and our client was offered Diversion for the offence of Drunk and Disorderly. That same day, the Magistrate agreed that Diversion was acceptable and our client was placed on a 6-month Diversion Plan. He was asked to donate a small amount to a local charity and write a letter of gratitude to the Prosecutors involved who offered him the Diversion Notice.

This case emphasises the importance of tenacious and thorough legal representation and advice. Had our client not sought advice and instead entered pleas of guilty to the charges originally laid against him, it is likely he would have served a period of full-time imprisonment as part of his penalty.

DISCLAIMER: This is a case study of an actual matter where the client was represented by Armstrong Legal. Details relating to the client have been changed to protect their confidentiality. The outcome, charges and facts have not been altered.

Our case studies are published to show real outcomes and give an indication of possible results. We cannot, and do not, guarantee a matter involving similar charges will get an identical outcome.

Diversion for Recklessly Causing Injury and Trespass – Case Study

Our client was charged with Recklessly Causing Injury, Unlawful Assault and Enter Private Place (Trespass).

Victoria Police alleged our client entered a private residence unknown to him and then assaulted the owner of the property after being escorted outside. It was alleged that the owner of the property suffered a split lip and bruises to his face arising from the altercation.

We attended at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court and conducted a case conference with the Prosecutors. We argued that the violence offences against our client should be withdrawn, as our client’s conduct was committed in self-defence. It was our view that once the owner had escorted our client from the premises, the owner no longer had any right to physically assault our client. It was clear from the case of Victoria Police that the altercation between the parties had occurred some distance from the property.

The Prosecutors agreed with our points and offered to withdraw the charges of Recklessly Causing Injury and Unlawful Assault.

Following that, we noted the only remaining offence was one of Enter Private Place, more commonly known as Trespass. We sought a Diversion Notice from the Prosecutors, given our client had no prior record and the offence remaining was a summary offence only. Ultimately, the Prosecutors agreed and the matter was adjourned for a Diversion Hearing.

In this matter, the client worked in the hospital and gaming industry. It was mandatory that he provide an unblemished criminal record check every 12 months for his employment. Had he not been offered a Diversion Notice by Victoria Police he would have had a criminal record which would have impacted his employment for years to come.

DISCLAIMER: This is a case study of an actual matter where the client was represented by Armstrong Legal. Details relating to the client have been changed to protect their confidentiality. The outcome, charges and facts have not been altered.

Our case studies are published to show real outcomes and give an indication of possible results. We cannot, and do not, guarantee a matter involving similar charges will get an identical outcome.

 

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.

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