Speak Directly To a Lawyer Now

1300 038 223
Open 7am - Midnight, 7 days
Or have our lawyers call you:
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Intentionally Causing Serious Injury

In Victoria, the maximum penalty for intentionally causing serious injury is 20 years’ imprisonment. The offence of intentionally causing serious injury is governed by section 16 of the Crimes Act 1958.

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?

A person may be charged with this offence if they have intentionally caused a serious injury but where the injury falls short of grievous bodily harm.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict a person of this offence 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 the accused 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.

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.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Legal Hotline
Open 7am - Midnight, 7 Days
Call 1300 038 223