Recklessly Causing Injury in Circumstances of Gross Violence
In Victoria the maximum penalty for recklessly causing serious injury in circumstances of gross violence under s 15B of the Crimes Act 1958 is 15 years’ imprisonment. This offence is an aggravated form of recklessly causing serious injury as it has the added element of the serious injury occurring in circumstances of ‘gross violence’.
If you are convicted of this offence, you will serve a minimum of four years’ imprisonment pursuant to sections 10 and 11 of the Sentencing Act 1991, unless a special reason exists for imposing a lesser penalty, such as impaired mental functioning.
The Offence of Recklessly Causing Serious Injury in Circumstances of Gross Violence
The offence can be found in section 15B(1) of the Crimes Act 1958 which states: A person must not, without lawful excuse, recklessly cause serious injury to another person in circumstances of gross violence.
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 the Police Must Prove
To convict a person of recklessly causing serious injury in circumstances of gross violence, 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 recklessly;
- The serious injury was caused in circumstances of gross violence;
- The accused acted without lawful justification or excuse.
In order to have caused a serious injury recklessly, at the time of the offence, the accused must have been aware that the injury was ‘probable’ or ‘likely’ and be indifferent as to whether or not it would occur. A person will not be found guilty if they were aware that injury was merely ‘possible’ or might result from their actions.
Further, it is not sufficient that a reasonable person in the accused’s circumstances would have realised that their conduct would be likely to injure the complainant.
Under section 15A of the Crimes Act 1958, any one of the following constitutes circumstances of gross violence:
- The offender planned in advance to engage in conduct and at the time of planning:
- The offender intended that the conduct would cause a serious injury; or
- The offender was reckless as to whether the conduct would cause a serious injury; or
- A reasonable person would have foreseen that the conduct would be likely to result in a serious injury.
- The offender in company with two or more other persons caused the serious injury;
- The offender entered into an agreement, arrangement or understanding with two or more other persons to cause a serious injury;
- The offender planned in advance to have with him or her and to use an offensive weapon, firearm or imitation firearm and in fact used the offensive weapon, firearm or imitation firearm to cause the serious injury;
- The offender continued to cause injury to the other person after the other person was incapacitated;
- The offender caused the serious injury to the other person while the other person was incapacitated.
Possible Defences for Recklessly Causing Serious Injury in Circumstances of Gross Violence
A person charged with this offence may argue in their defence that:
- They acted in self-defence or in defence of another;
- They did not act recklessly;
Which Court Will Hear Recklessly Causing Serious Injury in Circumstances of Gross Violence
Recklessly causing serious injury in circumstances of gross violence is a strictly indictable charge, which means that it will be heard in the County Court.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.