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.
A person charged with this offence may argue in their defence:
- That they were acting in self-defence or in defence of another
- They did not intend to cause serious injury
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.